Review: In Flames- Battles

Two years after releasing their highly-successful Siren Charms, In Flames are back with the follow up in Battles, an album that keeps the momentum going and shows the band cranking it up even further than they have before. Siren Charms saw the dawn of a new day for In Flames- going down a more straight metal approach and ushering in a new wave of In Flames fans while some longtime fans had trouble with the new sound. Battles follows in the steps of Siren Charms and shows the band delving even further into their abilities. Frontman Anders Friden\’s vocals are some of the strongest and most powerful we\’ve seen yet while the rest of the band is firing on all cylinders and sound stronger are a bigger musical unit than we\’ve ever heard. Then there\’s the addition of drummer Joe Rickard (formerly of Red), who adds an entirely new element to the band and opening an entirely new door for the rhythm section. It\’s just awesome listening to Rickard and longtime bassist Peter Iwers mesh together. It\’s obvious this is a new day and a new era for In Flames but there\’s still shades of the old days here. When the band is on the same page- which is the entire record- it\’s a thing of beauty and “Wallflower” is a prime example of this while “Before I Fall and “In My Room” show epic guitar exchanges that are things of pure legend. The softer tracks couldn\’t be more beautiful and the heavy ones are just that- pure In Flames heavy rock and a perfect contrast between darkness and beauty. In the long run, while Battles doesn\’t completely surpass Siren Charms or Sounds of a Playground Fading (that album is almost untouchable), it does showcase exactly what any In Flames fan has come to expect and love. This is an In Flames album through and through and, while the band is evolving, they stay true to themselves and bring us an even bigger and bolder sound. Rating: 8/10 -Reggie Edwards