In Flames – Siren Charms

In Flames are a swedish metal band that, in the 90s, played a role in creating the subgenre called melodic death metal and, more specifically, the Gothenburg sound of it. Starting in the early 2000s their sound took a shift and nowadays they are closer to modern/alternative metal, than melodic death metal.

Siren Charms marks their eleventh studio album and features 12 new and surprisingly diverse songs, counting the bonus track. Three songs were released/leaked prior to album release and I got pretty mixed impressions from them.

Through Oblivion is definitely one of the weaker tracks on the album, being a pretty slow and hardly intriguing song. When The World Explodes is one of the more intense songs on the album and the band shows some ambitions on it. In Flames had female support in their songs before, but this time, with the opera-like background synths/vocals they create a nice contrast to the crushing riffs and screams. The first song that was released was Rusted Nail though, featuring a really heavy intro of In Flames signature sound riffs that kicks off the track quite nicely.

In general, In Flames deliver quite a few heavy and thick riffs on this record that actually remind me of their releases in the early 2000s. Aside from that their sound became, once again, more accessible and radio-friendly. The first three songs on the album are, together with When The World Explodes, easily the strongest and most intense songs on the album. On songs like In Plain View, Everything’s Gone and Paralyzed the band utilizes synthesizers nicely to boost the song quality outside of the catchy refrains that mostly build on layering Ander’s vocals. The vocal quality in general has never really declined in their music, but I do prefer Ander’s screams over his clean vocals, even though he hits some pretty nice notes on his cleans in songs like In Plain View.

Just like their previous record this one also features some easy listening, “standard” metal tracks that are just plain uninteresting and bland. Monsters In The Ballroom is a prime example of that and is, for me, the weakest song on the entire album. Overall though, I’m pleasantly surprised by this record. Atleast the guitarwork is true to the virtues of In Flames’ early 2000s sound and the overall composition of the album is, though lacking some substance, still catchy and sometimes intense.

There really isn’t anything exceptional about this record, but it fits in perfectly into In Flames catalogue considering their previous releases. Putting the ever present dusty and conservative “it’s no Jester Race” criticism aside, this is a quite decent album for me.

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