Album Review – In Flames “Sounds of a Playground Fading” 2011

  Sounds of a Playground Fading is a bit like watching your favourite team’s Alumni hockey game. The skills are still there, the action is entertaining, but there’s no sense of urgency or stakes because the game doesn’t really count for anything.

The album has thirteen tracks, which seems about three or four too many, especially both (!) spoken word pieces. There are some portions around the middle where the riffing comes to life, but the record is all around quietly unremarkable.

The elephant in the room is, of course, the departure of founding member Jesper Strömblad, and whether the band would continue writing strong material without him. Personally, I don’t think that’s the issue. All of these songs are clearly identifiable as In Flames, but there is a malaise in the material that seems symptomatic of a creative slide that began some time ago. The band continues to emulate their heroes Iron Maiden in almost all respects, including some unfortunate self-plagarism and an tendency to rest on their laurels. “Fear is the Weakness” in particular seems pulled directly from No Prayer for the Dying, right down to the Nicko McBrain beat and the title itself.

This is two lackluster efforts in a row now from In Flames, and while I’m open-minded enough to refrain from immediately howling for a return-to-form record, I certainly wouldn’t find one amiss. 6 out of 10

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2 Responses to “Album Review – In Flames “Sounds of a Playground Fading” 2011”

  1. WarSteiner Says:

    I agree with you. The last couple of albums haven’t been great. I’m finding a groove for Playground, but it’s mostly single songs spread over a wide playlist. The free T-shirt was ok though. Better than the Arch Enemy one.

  2. But the Arch Enemy record was better.

    True though, their free T-shirt looked…free.

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