A Sense of Purpose
6/12/2008 - Review by: Frank Hill
I should've guessed from some of the title words what I was in for with the newest In Flames CD--'disconnected', 'sleepless', 'pessimist', 'irrelevant', 'condemned'. A Sense of Purpose is a misnomer unless the purpose here is to blanket itself in self-loathing.
Where Come Clarity was a vital experience of melodic thrash metal (packaging aside), ASOP is a downer where the majority of the blame goes to leader Anders Fridén whose obtuse, poetic lyrics have gone American mainstream with dreary introversion that includes the now preposterous line of "I feel like shit, but at least I feel something" which is second only to "I hurt myself to see if I could feel" on the Emo-parody list. They have caught up to an approach that is past its prime coming full circle with the bands that have been borrowing from the In Flames sound for a decade. Even the guitar work is drab and largely void of interesting riffs or melodic lines with only some chorus hooks serving as the saving graces. I'll have to assume the cover artwork has a Freudian touch to it.
I've been defending the In Flames direction and sound of their more experimental CDs like Reroute To Remain and Soundtrack To Your Escape to the consternation of the old-school fans who seem to have finally got over themselves and stopped grumbling for a return to the Whoracle, Jester Race and earlier era. ASOP has put me in the ironic position of wanting the prior sound I had been trumpeting while they become ever more popular with a new generation.
Recognizing your sentiments and using them as source material is always a method worth exploring, but A Sense of Purpose is the musical equivalent of laying around on the sofa all day in a mire of dejection and I really don't have the motivation, or amotivation, to join them.
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