In Flames - A Sense Of Purpose
Nuclear Blast
12 songs ()
Release year: 2008
In Flames, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Chris
Major event

Well In Flames new album is here. While the band has been less and less popular with their old fans since the release of Reroute To Remain, I for one, am not one of these people. I believe that pretty much every album this band has written was good to near perfect in some cases (Clayman, Colony, Whoracle, ... and more but these are my favorite three albums of the band and the ones that end up on my player the most out of the band's entire discography).

The new album isn't gonna please the old fans and there is no "messiahtic" return to the Jester Race / Whoracle style. The reason is simple, the band has evolved beyond these styles, are more accessible (read melodic too), and for some its a loss of epic proportions, and to others its actually a win. I don't think the band sold their soul and went commercial to sell more albums, I think that pretty much every album since Clayman shows a desire to make the sound of the band evolve into a more subtle melodic death sound with good melodies, great guitar riffs and more or less complex song-writing (and lots of less thrashy moments). That's of course how I feel about the band. Now this album grabbed me from the first listen, its heavy, its melodic, its the new In Flames I'm accustomed to. Not much new things here, in fact the album melts into the Reroute-Soundtrack-Come Clarity type of albums. While I feel the band is a bit repetitive and not much seems to be new (besides having new songs from them), at least its frakin' consistent, and the quality is always there. Sure it would be cool to get some new punch or some new ideas, and some moments here and there do that, either by being more melodic or more accessible on a few selected songs. But the bands takes little risks overall except maybe the experimental The Chosen Pessimist which is a very bizarre song (and a long one, clocking at 8'15), but still an interesting one for it has its own character, something most of today's In Flames songs can't say they do. Vocals are great as always, always mixing clean and harsh vocals with panache. The riffing, vocals and melodies is what I like the most on this album. The guitars are melodic the way I like them, and the songs flow naturally one after the other from start to finish. Not a bad song on the album, but some moments are predictable while some other moments will surprise, even if for just a few seconds.

Now our Japan friends get no less than 3 bonus songs, but In Flames is huge in Japan so its no surprise really. What sucks is that these songs are really awesome actually... I would have preferred that they are in the album and others are chosen as bonus tracks. The first one Eraser, as more aggression and is more in your face (almost thrashy from time to time) than the usual melodic flow of the new songs, but this one actually sounds "older", why on Earth would you release this song as a bonus song ? The second Tilt, has a furiously melodic riff in its verse, one that rocks quite a lot, the chorus though is more typical, still a good song overall. The last one is Abnegation, and again it starts very aggressive with a strong riff and more thrashy attitude a la Clayman, with a more typical chorus again, but the song is really heavy and cool. I have little doubts that these bonus songs would please the old fans better than most of the non-bonus content. If you're an ultimate fan of the band you'd better get the Japanese version, if not, you'll mostly miss on Eraser I guess.

In the end if you liked what In Flames delivered since Clayman and mostly Reroute (Clayman having that extra aggression missing from every album that followed it), then you'll love A Sense Of Purpose. But if you can't let go of the past and need a new Jester Race, then this album will be a disappointment to you (but you're used by now :) ), and while I totally understand this feeling (which is made clear in my Norther review for example), sometimes bands go a certain way, a way that you might like or not, in In Flames case, I don't mind it as much as I mind Norther or Dragonland (though I now really like their last offering for what it is). After all Clayman is the album that made me love this band and make me check their back catalogue, and its also the very first ultra melodic and clean vocals albums. Of course I'm also baffled by the genius of Whoracle, but not as much as the consistent aggressive yet always melodic Clayman. This latest offering is not the second coming of the band, its mostly the logical continuation of the band's current path. Its a great album that might be as good as Reroute or Come Clarity, but I have to admit that its getting less and less original having one album resemble the previous one. And I believe this album will get the same treatment from me than anything since Reroute To Remain (included) , meaning that I will listen to it for a week or two and forever archive the CD until an accidental play comes in the future, cause there is no doubt than when I want to please myself with some In Flames, I'll pick up Clayman, then Whoracles and finally Colony... not to say that the rest is worthless (far from it, there is no weak In Flames albums in my opinion), but its less memorable and tends to get really repetitive now, whilst always being great to sometimes top-notch material. It could actually be a funny drinking game to put all four last albums in a random pool and have to guess from which album the song belong or take a shot :), too bad I don't drink. In the end this album is great album, and if it was the only one the band had released in this style it would get a much higher quote... even though its almost as good to Reroute for me, its just that it lacks a bit personality and originality in what is slowly but becoming a pool of "identical" (yet great) songs.

Killing Songs :
Pretty much all of them, but some that I really like more are The Mirror's Truth, Sober And Irrelevant, Condemned, Drenched In Fear & Eraser (Jap. bonustrack)
Chris quoted 86 / 100
Goat quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by In Flames that we have reviewed:
In Flames - Sounds Of A Playground Fading reviewed by Khelek and quoted 55 / 100
In Flames - Colony reviewed by Dylan and quoted 95 / 100
In Flames - The Jester Race reviewed by Adam and quoted CLASSIC
In Flames - Come Clarity reviewed by Jason and quoted 95 / 100
In Flames - Used And Abused: In Live We Trust DVD reviewed by Ben and quoted no quote
To see all 13 reviews click here
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