In Flames - Soundtrack to Your Escape
No one, yet, has complained that all my reviews to this point have all been "Glowing" or "positive", and that I'm showing my true self; a guy who loves practically everything. Today, I am going to review an album I haven't listened to since the day it came out, but one where I've seen songs performed from it live within th last 2 months.
If there was ever an album worth being called a "sell-out disc", or if you ever wanted proof that America corrupts good talent now instead of making it better, this Americanized-Swedish Metal disc finds In Flames, which was formally the single finest example of Gothenberg Metal, turning more toward the American Mainstream. Gone are the incredibly lush tapestries of guitar work and guitar harmonies, replaced for more simple riffage and more "boring" moments. Anders vocals have gone from a more thrash-death metal tone to sounding like Johnathan Davis of Korn.
I have been an In Flames fan since 2002 when I was talked into buying Clayman. I loved that album, and after getting Whoracle, Colony, and the Jester Race, I truly knew I found an incredible band. But when this album came out, even I had to admit, something was wrong. People defend this album like it was their child, denying that In Flames "sold-out", crying out that Andes "doesn't sound like Johnathan Davis!", and the silliest of all, "They've had this sound since Colony". The last one, only in hindsight, can come close. The trend may have had traces in Colony, and some overtones in Clayman, but the real descent to the then-rampant Nu-Metal movement can be heard on the EP, ReRoute to Remain, as well as the Trigger EP. It was around that time that they did a video with Soilwork and the overall sound of the band was ore mainstream. Even then, even then I was able to enjoy them.
But Soundtrack to Your Escape is a travesty to their careers. It is, without a doubt, the album that almost killed the band in the eyes of longtime fans. The effect can be compared to that of Metallica's "Black Album", Nirvana's In Utero, Slipknot's Volume 3: The Subliminal Verus, but it can't. Why? Because, save Nirvana, they were actually GOOD albums, something that can not be said in this case. In Flames may have gained thousands of fans, but it was at the price of their artistic integrity and the loyalty of countless fans that helped get them there and in a position where they could get there in the first place.
The album plays out like any other mediocre metal release from the point up to 2002, only it was 2004; Simple riffs, down tuned guitars, Johnathan Davis-esq vocals at times while Anders struggles to find his new voice-
In fact, I'm going to stop right there. If Soundtrack is anything, it is the REAL LIFE VERSION OF PUNKY BRUSTER. "The Quiet Place" is their "Recipe for Bait"; They're not metal anymore, just commercial whores. Childish to write, yes, I will admit that, but the album has been defended by the band by declaring that they are sick of writing albums they way they did and wanted to "Grow" as a band. If this is growth, then my all means, I feel sorry for the band.
I would also like to point out that when this album came out,it was praised by countless metal critiques, and that makes absolutely no sense to me. Risk by Megadeth was just as much a "natural progression" from Youthanasia and Cryptic Writings, but Risk is still considered, especially at the time, to be their worst album, something even Dave Mustaine himself admitted. The point? That it doesn't matter if progression is "natural" or not, a shit album is a shit album, and I wish more critiques said it. I sincerly think that most of them were told they had to give the album a great review by their editors, were paid off by the record company, or something, because there is simply no way it could be hailed so high.
Thank god that they released Come Clarity in 2006.
With that, I'm stopping this review. It gets a 2 out of 5. Why even 2, especially since I destroyed it? Because, despite all the horrible shit on there, they at least had "The Quiet Place", the only decent song on there that, if recorded 3 years ago, would have been perfect.