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IN FLAMES Siren Charms

By Metal Mark Mihalo, Tulsa Contributor
Sunday, September 7, 2014 @ 9:34 AM

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Siren Charms

Sony Music

2014 must be the year for epic metal releases. Every metal band putting out music this year seems to have topped anything they have put out in recent years. So why should IN FLAMES be any different? Being hailed as one of the most anticipated albums to be released this month, we find the best composed and dynamic album to date from the Swedish melodic death masters. On their eleventh studio release, Siren Charms, we find the same aggressive style, but slowed down a bit. The biggest change one will notice is a departure from Anders Fridén’s dominant yelling and screaming type singing with clean vocals here and there, and on to a cleaner vocal style that carries more depth and really shows his true abilities as vocalist. The yells and screams are still there, just toned down some and are used for strong emphasis and emotion in the songs. This is the same IN FLAMES as before, only better! Every band should strive to evolve musically over the years and not put out the same material over and over. That’s just boring. Siren Charms is a great example of that evolution. Blending the clean vocals with brilliant guitar work and composition, it’s different from anything they have put out previously, but still has their core sound and that same power. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of super heavy songs on here, but with cleaner singing.

Every song is an emotionally charged journey on its own, and every song on this album kicks ass, so I will only touch on the best of the best.

Don’t let the slow intro fool you. Blasting into “In Plain View”, things pick up tempo immediately and set the stage for the remaining tracks. Great song to start and gives a preview of the changes made in vocal style, but also shows off the brilliant guitar work from Björn Gelotte and Niclas Engelin, the great bass lines from bassist Peter Iwers and the consistently heavy beat from drummer Daniel Svensson. The most played on XM Radio is “Everything Is Gone”. A heavy tune where Anders shows some of his classic style singing with varying intensity screams and growls that should please the fans that are looking for songs that sound similar to their older material.

There are a few “ballad” type songs on the here starting with “Through Oblivion”. A very powerful song in its own right with a style reminiscent of “Come Clarity” from the album titled the same. Then comes “With Eyes Wide Open” with Anders singing powerful choruses mixed with awesome guitar work. Emotionally complex, it shows the bands ability to turn a commercial sounding song into something resoundingly beautiful, but still have a solid metal foundation laid beneath it.

Ratcheting things back up again is “When The World Explodes”. Taking on a metalcore sound for the first half with female backing vocals singing in a choir style similar to that found on a NIGHTWISH album to finish out the song. It’s a change of pace for sure, but a great song nonetheless. “Rusted Nail” was the first song to be released from Siren Charms, and it’s the most complex and heaviest song on the album. Starting off slow, and then taking on a little techno sound, but things change quickly as this song ramps ups to classic Anders blistering yells for the chorus. There is a strong TOOL resemblance to this song with the strong bass sound being dominant.

“Monsters In The Ballroom” is the one song that seems completely different from anything IN FLAMES has done before. The song takes a heavy start, then turns ballad through the chorus, but Anders adds those correctly placed screams to make this song come together in perfect harmony with a heavy finish.

There have been several negative comments on YouTube and in reviews about them “wimping out”, being “lame”, and “I didn’t know this was the NICKLEBACK station”. These people obviously are stuck in a rut and only appreciate the band for what they were, and not for what they have become today. I applaud IN FLAMES for taking a big chance with the changes they’ve made in both sound and intensity on Siren Charms. It’s sure to catapult them to the top of bands to watch in 2014 and beyond. If you have never checked out IN FLAMES before, this is the album to do it. Does it have a more “commercial” feel to it? Yes, but so fuckin’ what! It’s great fuckin’ music! The only disappointment in this release is that it’s only 45 minutes long, and that it comes to an end. It leaves a feeling like there should have been one more song to end the album on; however, you will still want to start from the beginning and listen to it all over again.

Look for IN FLAMES on tour in North America with OPETH later this year.

5.0 Out Of 5.0

Pick up your copy of Siren Charms in he KNAC.COM More Store right HERE.

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