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ALBUM REVIEW: Battles – In Flames

IN FLAMES are back with their twelfth studio album, Battles – which hits the shelves just two years after the release of Siren Charms. The new album falls under the Eleven Seven and Nuclear Blast record labels, the latter being the band’s main record label since the release of their second album The Jester Race back in 1996.

The opening track from the new record, Drained, builds up relatively slowly with more electro-style sounds, followed by a gentle opening riff from the guitar of Björn Gelotte. Add that to the haunting lyrics of Anders Fridén, and you have an excellent intro before the song really kicks in with the harder riffs you would expect to hear from IN FLAMES.

While the band are labelled as melodic death metal, there are not as many heavy elements in this album than there have been in previous records by IN FLAMES. There are a number of standout hits on Battles, though they would fall more under the hard rock category rather than death metal.

The title track from the new album is a prime example of this, and is one of the bigger hits on the record. It starts off relatively heavy – not quite on the same level as your typical death metal track, but it’s certainly a heavier opener than some of the songs on Battles, and the song itself does have a powerful chorus, which is what helps make it stand out on this album.

Another track which really stands out on Battles is the penultimate number, Wallflower. This is the longest song on the record, lasting just over seven minutes, and in a similar way to the opening track, it starts off with more electro-style audio, and is accompanied by another gentle riff  – though this one seems to add more to the song. Also, the bass of Peter Iwers adds to the intro as the song slowly builds up, before Joe Rickard kicks the song into motion with the drums.

Wallflower has more metal elements in the song compared to some of the other tracks on the new album, but  when you listen to the song Battles all the way through, it does sound more like hard rock than metal.

Listening to the whole record all the way through, anyone who did not know the wiser would believe that they are listening to an album by the American punk band RISE AGAINST, the style of the music is very similar between the two bands, and more surprisingly there is not much difference between the vocals of both bands.

That said, there is no faulting the quality of the music provided in this album – there just doesn’t appear to be as many metal elements in Battles that regular fans would come to expect, or even those who have not come across the band in great detail but see them labelled as melodic death metal.

Even in the band’s last album, Siren Charms, there were some songs which had heavier elements in them compared to this album, for example Rusted Nail.

Battles as a standalone album is very good, both in the delivery and technical side of things, and for those who have not come across the band before then it is an enjoyable listening experience. For those who have been long term fans of the band since their formation, then this may not be one for you.

Rating: 7/10

Battles - In Flames

Battles is set for release on November 11th via Nuclear Blast Records.

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