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In Flames
Sounds of a Playground Fading

Company: Century Media Records
Release: 2011
Genre: Hard Rock
Reviewer: Nailer

  • Gothenburg-lite



  • Older In Flames fans light up the forums with every new release thinking they're going to put out another copy of "The Jester Race" or "Whoracle" when there has been a matching number of experimental releases since 02's "Reroute to Remain". I understand people want more of what nourishes their soul and occasionally a return to form is accomplished (Megadeth, Accept), but In Flames is too noetic to move back to the past with their catalog. The time comes when you have to get off the melodic-death tit and move on already.

    Personally, I wouldn't even call "Sounds of a Playground Fading" melodic thrash which is what they morphed into once the death left altogether. I'm not sure what I'd call this really, maybe progressive metal, which isn't an insult...maybe even hard rock or Gothenburg-lite.

    Unfortunately, the band has begun to eat itself with some guitar work and riffs; compare "Where the Dead Ships Dwell" with scale play of the earlier "A Touch of Red". "The Attic" and "Jester's Door" (a letter from Jesper Strömblad?) attempt the mood of prior "Your Bedroom Story Is Scaring Everyone", but just don't have the spooks. "Liberation" is way too close to being a pop rock single for my tastes.

    Regardless of the cannibalism, I'm a personal fan of mid-career In Flames and Anders Friden's voice in all his permutations from smooth to rough to angry to desperate. The familiar frosty (an EC favorite word) metal guitar tone is there and so are the electronic squeaks, pops and whistles that colored their mid-releases. The vocal melodies that permeate SOAPF are abundant, especially in the catchy choruses.

    If you like comparisons, put it as a meld of "Soundtrack to Your Escape" and "Come Clarity" which ultimately works for me.


    About this Writer:
    Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.

    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



    ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: IN FLAMES
    CD
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    A Sense of PurposeIn Flames
    2008
    Frank Hill6/12/2008
    Come ClarityIn Flames
    2006
    Frank Hill3/8/2006
    Lunar Strain/Subterranean (Reissues)In Flames
    2005
    Eric Compton6/17/2005
    Reroute to RemainIn Flames
    2002
    Guest1/21/2003
    Siren CharmsIn Flames
    2014
    Frank Hill10/20/2014
    Sounds of a Playground FadingIn Flames
    2011
    Eric Compton8/5/2011
    Soundtrack to Your EscapeIn Flames
    2004
    Greg Watson4/30/2004
    The Mirror's TruthIn Flames
    2008
    Frank Hill3/14/2008
    Trigger EPIn Flames
    2003
    Frank Hill2/20/2004


    ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: IN FLAMES
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    BattlesIn Flames
    2016
    Eric Compton1/19/2017


    ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: IN FLAMES
    INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE
    Anders FridenIn FlamesGreg Watson7/9/2004


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