Original Portuguese version here: http://backstageforum.hot-me.com/t4422-in-flames-sounds-of-a-playground-fading
» I’ve always respected a band with the courage to change, who refuses to do the same album over and over again. And when that change doesn’t make the band lose its identity, then I feel admiration as well. I, at least, identified the first single “Deliver Us” as an IN FLAMES-song right on the first time I’ve heard it.
In general, there’s more balance between melody and aggression, which I believe it was already expected. The main difference between “Sounds Of A Playground Fading” and its predecessors is Anders Fridén‘s vocal style, followed by a more remarkable use of soft passages. And given the fact that IN FLAMES readjust their sound with each album they release, Jesper Strömblad‘s departure is hardly “to blame” for this.
This is not the first time that Fridén tries to actually sing instead of crying (as in “Come Clarity”, “The Quiet Place”…), but how often he turns to cleaner tones, through the whole album, that’s a premiére. “Ropes” and “Liberation” are the most notorious examples.
The intro of the title-track and “All For Me” are samples of what I meant by “soft passages” – which isn’t exactly a novelty in IN FLAMES either (“Sleepless Again”, “Evil In A Closet”…). “The Attic” is all slow and melancholic (almost depressive, even), being the surprise-song – the one no one expects to listen in such an album. But the true “WTF?”-moment belongs to “Jester’s Door” (although, when paying attention to its few words, maybe it’s not that out-of-sense after all).
Regarding the thrashing of riffs and beats they’ve made us familiar with since early days, we have “The Puzzle”, “Darker Times” and “Enter Tragedy”, while the guitars on “Fear Is The Weakness” and “A New Dawn” (this also aided by a cello) seem to weep, à la ’80s hard rock bands. The electronic details on “Deliver Us” and “Where The Dead Ships Dwell”, on the other hand, are a pretty modern treat.
13 tracks well elaborated – none of them seems to me like it’s just “filling gaps” – to which a remix of “Darker Times” is added on the digital deluxe edition on iTunes. Except among those old school fans who are still hoping for IN FLAMES to return to that pure melodic death metal they were once pioneers of, “Sounds Of A Playground Fading” will be a success. «
Label: Century Media
Producer: Roberto Laghi
- Sounds Of A Playground Fading
- Deliver Us
- All For Me
- The Puzzle
- Fear Is The Weakness
- Where The Dead Ships Dwell
- The Attic
- Darker Times
- Enter Tragedy
- Jester’s Door
- A New Dawn
- Darker Times (Eagleclaw remix) [iTunes deluxe edition]
Bonus dvd with studio report on the physical deluxe edition.