IN FLAMES – Reroute to Remain

Reroute to Remain is aggressive, dynamic, and clearly IN FLAMES‘ most ambitious album since their Jester days. The Swedes score huge points for attempting to develop their sound and songwriting approach (taking a cue from SOILWORK). They weave their traditional melodic riffing with an almost nü-metal crunch but in a more concise format powered by melodic choruses. Yet somehow, Reroute to Remain still manages to fall flat on its face. The aggression and bounce cannot overcome the fact that the songs fall victim to the band’s poor song arranging skills, Daniel Svensson‘s ugly duckling drumming (not to mention Mickey Mouse drum sound), and Anders Friden‘s inability to sing (all displayed unequivocally on Clayman, their previous full-length album). At least Friden‘s “clean” vocals (which would otherwise sound like a dying giraffe) are mostly dressed with effects and aided by the use of expensive studio equipment. Unfortunately, there’s nothing that can disguise their weak songwriting and how-much-is-that-doggie-in-the-window drumming. But as with Clayman, Reroute to Remain is not without its moments. The new wave-like chorus of “System” is pleasantly surprising as is the perfectly-packaged-for-radio track, “Cloud Connected” and even the ballsy SOILWORK-esque number “Egonomic”. Still, as verteran metallers, IN FLAMES is really selling the world short with this subpar music. While most fault IN FLAMES for selling out, the bottom line is that Reroute to Remain lacks substance. The material may sound fresh, but there really isn’t much compelling (see SOILWORK and/or DARK TRANQUILLITY) about the originators of melodic Swedish death metal. (Nuclear Blast Records)

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