In Flames continue on their path

In Flames is certainly one of the most controversial bands in the last decade. Ever since they decided to change their style from melodic death metal to metalcore-influenced pop metal their fan base split. They gained a lot of new fans and lost a lot of old fans. Then there is a group of followers that hope In Flames will one day return to the musical style of their beginning. If you belong to that group and you thought the previous release ‘Sounds Of A Playground Fading’ didn’t do the band any good, stop reading. ‘Siren Charms’ is not the album that you hoped for.

The twelve songs on ‘Siren Charms’ all stay below the five-minute length (with the exemption of ‘Dead Eyes’). This certainly seems to point towards a record that has been written with radio airplay in mind. The opening track ‘In Plain View’ starts then with heavy use of synthesizers, vocals are mainly clean with some screamed part and the refrain is catchy.

‘Paralyzed’, ‘Through Oblivion’ and ‘With Eyes Wide Open’ are all songs similar to the opener. They seem to be written for radio airplay. Catchy refrains are the dominant feature intertwined with melodic guitar parts, mainly clean vocals and slower parts that are more rock music than heavy metal. The songs are not really bad but they lack spirit and recognition value.

‘Siren Charms’ gets exciting when the band lets it rip. ‘When The World Explodes’ and ‘Monsters In The Ballroom’, the heaviest songs on the record, show more energy and drive. Interestingly these songs are mainly metalcore tracks. ‘Everything’s Gone’ is another example of this style.

Other songs come with a more traditional approach. So surprises ‘Filtered Truth’ with a classic heavy metal riff and a twin-axe solo towards the end. ‘Dead Eyes’ has a great melodic riff that stands out on this album. The title track is actually the only song that doesn’t work for me at all. The song just doesn’t groove with its broken riff.

‘Siren Charms’ is an album without any rough edges. It is the natural continuation of In Flames’ style already presented on ‘Sounds Of A Playground Fading’. The band enjoys catchy pop metal songs with melodic guitar themes. Throw in a few metalcore influences and you have an album that should have a decent commercial success. The fact that In Flames play it safe and present nothing new or controversial will not disappoint fans of their newer phase. Fans of In Flames’ older phase will again turn their head away with disappointment.

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