Mar 282011

For me, In Flames is a special band. They were one of my “gateways” to extreme metal. My NCS co-founders and I have seen them many times live, and we’ve always gotten a charge out of their shows. We’ve also met and talked with the band, and they are kind-hearted people who don’t come across as egotists, despite their global success. And on top of all that, I’m still a big fan of the music.

But to be brutally honest, I’ve become less of a fan as time has passed. I know some of you, maybe many of you, feel the same way. There is a vast distance between Clayman and A Sense of Purpose. Hell, there’s some real distance between Come Clarity and A Sense of Purpose.

Based on a news item from earlier today, I’m getting an uneasy feeling that the distance is going to increase even more when the next In Flames album, Sounds Of A Playground Fading, hits the streets in June. Yes, we now have specific worldwide release dates. We also have the news that In Flames is now signed to Century Media. 

And we have comments like this from Anders Fridén in a recent interview: “[One] song begins with a spoken-word part that evolves into a kind of hard DEPECHE MODE-type thing.”  Gulp.  (more after the jump . . .)

Here are the rest of the comments from Anders’ interview with a Swedish tabloid called Aftonbladet, as reported in Blabbermouth:

“We have some songs that pretty much go against the hard rock formula,” he said. “There’s a song called ‘The Attic’ where we have an accordion playing the chorus instead of me singing it. Another song begins with a spoken-word part that evolves into a kind of hard DEPECHE MODE-type thing. We also have some really fast, typical IN FLAMES tunes.”

He added, “We’ve never denied where we come from, but at the same time we like to challenge our listeners.”

Well, there are challenges and there are challenges. Listening to In Flames and hearing something that resembles Depeche Mode isn’t the kind of challenge I want. And accordions are fine in some folk-metal bands, but again, I’m not sure I’m up to an accordion challenge from In Flames.

And what the fuck is up with that statement about “some songs” going against “the hard rock formula”? Does that mean that the rest of the album, except for the accordion-and-Depeche-Mode things, are going to follow a “hard rock formula”? It creeps me out to think so, and I sure as fuck hope I’m misinterpreting it. Problem is, A Sense of Purpose already drifted perilously close to that verboten territory. 

We will see. Here are the release dates:

Sweden – June 15
Germany – June 17
Rest Of Europe – June 20
North America – June 21

The first single will also be released in early May, and we will then have our first evidence of whether the creeping dread is justified.


  1. So this should cheer you up then instead: The entire new Benighted album is up for streaming here:

    Especially check out the song “Let the blood spill, between my broken BREEE BREEE BREEE!”

    Benighted are just too awesome.

  2. “A Sense Of Purpose” was awful.

    I would like to feel bolstered by the addtion of Niclas Engelin on guitar (also: I called this ages ago) but am still suspicious of their future direction.

    • I guess we’ll find out of Engelin had a role in the song-writing (or maybe there’s already reporting on that which I’ve missed), but instinctively I doubt it.

  3. I can handle Depeche Mode. I’ve had Music For The Masses and Violator for many years. Their music has a dark atmosphere at times and translates to rock and metal pretty well. Monster Magnet, Deftones, Rammstein and Arsis have done some nice covers.

    Here’s Arsis’ take on The Things You Said

    In Flames does not need to go Depeche Mode, though, unless maybe they did something similar to the Arsis interpretation for a song or two.

    I know, fuck Depeche Mode, they know nothing of Metal.

    • I should probably be more clear. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I was a Depeche Mode fan. Even today, I would not say “fuck Depeche Mode”. And Anders’ allusion to Depeche Mode could mean all sorts of things. But if In Flames is doing a song that brings Depeche Mode to his mind, then it’s not likely to sound like something I want from In Flames. I also think you’re right that other bands, including Arsis, have done some nice Depeche Mode covers. But I think In Flames could challenge us in far batter ways, and I’m afraid they won’t.

      • In Flames covered “Everything Counts” on Whoracle, which I think is a Depeche Mode song, isn’t it?

        • Indeed it is. It’s a DM song I haven’t heard the original of so I didn’t even realize. I’ve got to start paying more attention to liner notes.

  4. The accordion could end up really awesome if done right, but thats a big “if”. I had to look up depeche mode and I really hope thats not the direction they’re drifting too… I find it really sad when bands I grew up with run out of ways to reinvent themselves, so the end up settling for a crappy version of someone else.

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