In Flames – A Sense of Purpose

Band: In Flames
Album: A Sense Of Purpose
Genre: Hard Rock/Melodic Metal
Label: Koch

1. The Mirror’s Truth
2. Disconnected
3. Sleepless Again
4. Alias
5. I’m The Highway
6. Delight and Angers
7. Move Through Me
8. The Chosen Pessimist
9. Sober and Irrelevant
10. Condemned
11. Drenched in Fear
12. March To The Shore

Let me begin this review by mentioning that A Sense of Purpose by In Flames may have the most beautiful album art the metal world sees all year. No joke, it’s very well done with wonderful use of color and imagery to fit the messages in the music. Since that’s how the album presents itself to you, that how I will present my review. This new release from Koch records marks the 9th studio album for the Gothenburg, Sweden metal act. They’ve been around for nearly two decades and are still making fans by the year. A Sense of Purpose may not be the band’s best release to come out of these years, but it’s definitely worth a couple spins to say the least.

Purpose begins with the lead single, “The Mirror’s Truth,” a fast paced, riff crazy rocker that really kicks things off right. The production here is top quality and it really makes everything that much better. However, even if this were a poor quality recording, these guys would sound immensely better than most in the game today. Vocalist Anders Friden has a great voice for this style of metal, which is more melodic and his seamless move between screaming and singing is nearly flawless. In fact, on the very next track, entitled, “Disconnected,” Friden really shines through as the lynchpin for In Flames. His voice rides like a pirate ship on the waves of sound coming from the band like few vocalist can.

An instantly memorable guitar riff leads, “I Am The Highway,” a single ready track if I’ve ever heard one. The band experiments with accents a lot more on this song and musically it’s a good progression for them, but have no fears, they don’t step too far out of their box. The chorus is filled with double bass and chugging guitars while the verse finds Friden talking about taking life into his own hands with lines like, “forget the promise land, there was never an invitation, today I create my own.” It’s a standout track on the album to say the least and could really open doors for the band. Another song, that contains similar promise is the straight forward rocker, “Move Through Me.” The song, as the lyrics claim, stands as a call to arms to rise up for you are not alone and together we can take on the world. Metal fans will surely be found chanting this throughout the band’s upcoming tours as it’s sure to become a road favorite.

As the album moves into it’s later stages we find the last three songs, “Condemned,” “Drenched in Fear,” and, “March To The Shore,” each packing punches you don’t want to miss out on. “Condemned,” presents some of the sickest guitar work found on the album thus far and Friden tears through his vocals like a madmen yet finds time to make a catchy chorus amongst the chaos. “Drenched,” Is all about the music, though Friden doesn’t disappoint one bit. The guitars never stop chugging and riffing while Daniel Svensson pounds the drums with such a fury you can’t help, but be pulled into his pulsating tones. This one is made for driving fast with the windows down. After all of this we come to the final cornerstone of the album, the closing track. “March To The Shore,” is no epic piece of music, but rather an average timed song with above average instrumentation. One may think In Flames would relax for the closing number, or go for epic proportions, but they opt instead to hit you harder than ever before on the album. It’s a song meant to get the crowd moving and I’m sure it will. It’s heavy, pounding, and the perfect bow on top of the album.

In Flames have built quite a career for themselves. This is especially true for being in a genre where most bands don’t make it past their second album, if that far. Their 9th studio album, “A Sense of Purpose,” is filled with amazing riffs, pounding bass and drum lines, and vocals that stay with you for days. Given the band’s long legacy of being metal gods, I did expect something slightly more original or at least more variation, but nevertheless, they do what they do quite well. This album is not their best work, for that you’ll have to do some exploring, but it’s definitely one of the best metal albums 2008 has offered and it will surely be on your top 10 list come December.

*Written By: James Shotwell*
GRADE: 7.5/10

James Shotwell
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