Album Review – In Flames “A Sense of Purpose” 2008

Times were when you knew what you were getting with In Flames. As one of the Gothenburg originals, they could be counted upon for bright, wide open spaces in order to give the soaring melodies room to duel. On the page would be a story of the evils of mankind, or maybe just the Man. All that changed in 2002 with Reroute to Remain, as the band experimented with shorter, quicker structures and a more introspective storyline of the evils within. 

People reacted well to the evolution, reasoning that this band needed room to grow, and if they had a yen for cover paintings featuring the biomechanical denizens of red-skied wastelands, there were other people mining that vein. 

Encouraged by the inch given, In Flames veered away the full mile on Soundtrack to your Escape, and things got a little too Korny and weird. Either they got it all out of their system or took a peek at the reviews, because Come Clarity was a much simpler record which set the tone for this one, managing to steal away scot-free with a whole new demographic in the process. The masters of melodic death were filling venues with hardcore, of a sort. They’re not quite Possessed to Skate, but you do see awful lot of Jesterhead stickers on Jeep FJ’s these days. 

A Sense of Purpose is more or less Come Clarity II, and that’s not a bad thing. This is the logical progression of the tighter, compressed aesthetic begun with Reroute, with all the focus on brief, intense moments. Acoustic bridges with whispered vocals dot the terrain here and there, but overall it still has the same hurried vibe of Clarity. The fencing exhibitions of the 90’s have become a 4-round boxing match: twenty seconds of moshpit madness and then it’s time to throw up your hands and sing along big and clean with Anders. Repeat and ring the bell!  

If you’ve followed In Flames out of the Citadel of Spikes and up the Ski Hill of Chronic you won’t find anything wrong here. Maybe nowadays we know where this band is going after all. 7 out of 10

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