In Flames: Siren Charms review

It was around the Reroute To Remain and Soundtrack To Your Escape albums that Swedish death metallers In Flames took a huge risk by radically changing their sound, sending a rift through the band’s core fan base. Every album since has followed suit and their newest effort for Sony Music Siren Charms is no exception. It’s the band’s 11th studio album and continues the band’s evolution of sound from macabre to mainstream. Despite mixed reviews from the fans, the band received critical acclaim and won several awards over the years. Including four Grammis awards, the Swedish equivalent of a Grammy. The album was produced by Danial Bergstrand, Roberto Laghi and In Flames, was mixed by Michael Ilbert, mastered by Tom Coyne and features reality warping cover art by Blake Armstrong from Space Boy Comics. If you’re not a fan of the current direction of the band, then Siren Charms isn’t going to do anything to sway your opinion, as it follows the same formula as Come Clarity, A Sense Of Purpose and Sounds Of A Playground Fading. If you’re a diehard hoping for a return to the former death metal glory of Whoracle, Colony or Clayman then all hope is lost. Having said that, if you’re a fan of infectious melodic heavy metal, then Siren Charms is right up your alley. Bearing that in mind, the first few notes of opener “In Plain View” are instantly recognizable as In Flames and lets you know straight away what kind of direction the album will be taking musically. With “Everything’s Gone” being the one exception. It’s a grandiose proclamation that traces back to their death metal roots. While tracks like “Paralyzed” and “Dead Eyes” are driven by pulsating grooves deeper than the Grand Canyon. Whereas 2nd single and video “Through Oblivion” and closer “Filtered Truth” are mouthwatering musical propositions that are prime examples of the band’s ever changing musical landscape. At the same time, “With Eyes Wide Open” is a distinctive and devastating combination of modulated rhythmic shifts and singer Anders Friden’s razor sharp vibrato, while the pungent atmospherics and lumbering melodies of title track “Siren Charm” and “Monsters In The Ballroom” take them to all new levels of originality, with harrowing results. The angelic vocals and Phantom Of The Opera vibe to “When The World Explodes” even finds them trying their hand at the symphonic metal greatness of such lumanaries as Nightwish. While the hook-laden riffs of lead single and video “Rusty Nail” are as ferocious & absolute as they are vicious & unrelenting. Here’s the bottom line- In Flames continue to give cynics and detractors the middle finger by refusing to pander to myopic demands and expectations. While they may no longer be the band you remember, they are still a band worth remembering. Rating: 8/10 Eric Hunker