In Flames – Sounds of a Playground Fading (2011)

And this is the heavily awaited tenth – anniversary number! – album by In Flames, the first album recorded by the band without founding guitarist Jesper Strömblad, who left the band in February last year. Cut to the chase, “Sounds of a Playground Fading” sounds intense, it’s a perfect blending of heavy and technical elements with more melodious, classic and progressive (heavy) metal schemes. They low-tuned heaviness and catchy melodic hooks signature is recognizable, pithy and In Flames is holding steady to the same path they’ve been on for over a decade.
Formed in 1990 as a side project of Ceremonial Oath, the band where that time guitarist Jesper Strömblad played, In Flames gained major popularity and became a trademark for what we call the “Gothenburg style and sound” and managed to remains a good metal band while being also “radio friendly” and one with constantly good selling. Some of the conservative death metal fans probably considered they “sell out”, but In Flames actually never giving up being metal.

13 songs were laid down for the CD, which was recorded at the band’s IF Studios in Gothenburg with engineer Roberto Laghi (previously worked with bands such as Hardcore Superstar, LOK, Sonic Syndicate).

Track listing:

01. Sounds Of A Playground Fading
02. Deliver Us
03. All For Me
04. The Puzzle
05. Fear Is The Weakness
06. Where The Dead Ships Dwell
07. The Attic
08. Darker Times
09. Ropes
10. Enter Tragedy
11. Jester’s Door
12. A New Dawn
13. Liberation

“Sounds of a Playground Fading” is probably their most smooth, melodious album up to date, they have a few pop-like catchy moments, the album is colored with smooth synthesizer layers and a few nice acoustic moments, but in essence this is still In Flames, still quality metal and most of all they have the skill to write good songs, memorable themes, merge the cutting riffs with goddamn good harmonies and singable choruses.
The last song on the album, “Liberation” is almost a pop-metal anthem, strangely reminds me of H.I.M. of even some softer heavy bands of the 80s, while “The Puzzle”, “Where the Dead Ships Dwell” or “Darker Times” are absolutely classic In Flames songs and all the rest between are inspired and exciting blending of these two.

In Flames – Official Site
In Flames @ MySpace

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