In Flames are probably one of the only ‘grrr rah’ metal bands I ever got into. I think it’s probably down to there being a lot more depth to it than angry screaming over repetitive angry guitar and double kick brain bashing drum beats. I’m sorry but Arch Enemy gave me nightmares for weeks and I’m pretty sure I can still hear the screams of Lamb of God in my head on a cold December morning.
I first discovered In Flames when I was 16 and working my first job cleaning villas for Center Parcs. They had CD players in the villas so I would bring in my compact discs and kick out the jams whilst scrubbing the guests remnants of last nights curry from the toilet bowl.
A boy I knew from school was working there too as a window cleaner and he suggested that if I liked Metallica and NOFX I should check out this band In Flames, he’d sell me the record for a fiver. I had a crush so of course I bought the damn CD but lo and behold it was a fiver well spent.
In Flames are still a well known name in my record collection whereas the window cleaner may have been recently culled from my facebook friend list.
Also if you like Metallica and NOFX you won’t necessarily like this album, that was bad advice.
So here is my rundown on In Flames Reroute to Remain.
Reroute to Remain – The great thing about In Flames is their positive lyrics which yeah I agree are sometimes hard to hear over all the shouting, jeez Anders why don’t you calm yourself? It’s metal bitch! We better get used to that quickly. The message is that we need to change these roads we’re taking as a collective. This album was made in 2002 and we’re still deeper down this darkened track.
System – This is the first album of theirs I listened to and bought second hand from the window cleaner, so I was under the impression that this had always been their sound. It turns out that this is and was considered to be a turning point into the mainstream for these guys. It does have a much more accessible sound than previous albums but I bet you if I played these albums back to back for my girlfriend she couldn’t tell the difference. I don’t think they have ever sold out, they are a fucking metal band for Pete’s sake, it’s not like they are selling Windolene is it. I like this more melodic sound, Anders Friden has a beautiful voice when he’s not screaming and an intimidating one when he is. It’s nice to hear a little more softness to the sound. Do you think that selling out sometimes just means ‘sounding better’? No me neither but in this case I do.
Drifter – What a power anthem! I sometimes forget how much I love these guys. A beautiful guitar solo at around 2.15 and the double kick drums that take us out of the song are just phenomenal. Poetical lyrical genius, my favorite example being the chorus which is ‘What you wanted was a mystery to me? The words I hear are of scrambled letters, guess it’s been there for years, it never let me know I was alright’ . You know considering English isn’t these Swede’s first language they have deeper, more philosophical and understandable lyrics than a lot of bands out there…until Anders screams all over them I guess.
Trigger – This was one of two singles released on this album and as a result it has a very interesting music video. In the video members of the band Soilwork berate them whilst they are playing a show. There is a video from a Soilwork single that reverses the roles. Anyone else think Anders look’s the spitting image of Chris O’Dowd?
Cloud Connected - This has quite an electro into that could lull you into a false security of an impending rave…which could be a bit of an eye opener when you end up in a mosh pit. This was the first of the two singles to be released from the album and you can understand why with its catchy riffs and ear ringing melodies.
Transparent – I don’t really have a loser track on this album, they are all pretty rock along metal anthems! I guess if I had to choose a loser track this would be it down to the use of metal tropes that I don’t find appealing. Angry shouty vocals that are difficult to understand and double kick fast drums with the added ‘deln du du deln’ guitar solos. BUT! In Flames always make those tropes really listenable so although I name this worst track of the album it’s not actually a bad song. I guess that makes this a loser free album which makes it a must listen in mah opinionz!
Dawn of a New Day – And the winner nearly is…yeah you metalhead suckahs iz all gonna hate on me bluds! I’m sorry the ghost of a gangsta just walked through me apparently. Yeah so this isn’t quite my favorite track of the album but it’s oh so very close . If you’re a fan of the album and I give you a hint that my favorite is softer than this one you will guess. Then I will hear cries of BOO HISS! BURN THE INFIDEL! That’s the great thing about this band though brothers and sisters; I don’t really like this kind of metal yet here I am telling you that this here is pretty much a flawless album.
Egonomic – I know the metalheads tell me that metal is the most energetic sound out there and whilst I kind of don’t get that with many other metal bands I definitely see it with this band. It’s got positive lyrics and some fast guitar melodies courtesy of Jesper Stromblad and Bjorn Gelotte. I just get the pumped up kicks you could get out of this sound. I imagine weirdly that this would be a good sound to go out for a jog to, well only I guess if you want to feel like you’re being chased or perhaps chasing someone else. An imaginary someone else, don’t go out and just randomly start chasing people, they will arrest you!
Minus – ‘Watch me all in flames, on a butterfly I ride’. You would have to be so incredibly tiny to ride a butterfly or I guess you could try and ride Mothra but I severely advise against it, unless you’re on fire I guess then maybe that’s a way to bring that bitch down.
Dismiss the Cynics – I’m such the fangirl that this used to be my user name on Yahoo! HA! Who uses Yahoo anymore? I won’t bad mouth those guys too much they did just save Community from certain death. I’m just kidding Yahoo, I love your Q&A section, it’s full of stupid people and trolls. SIX SEASONS AND A MOVIE!
Freefall – This has one of the prettiest fairy tale intros I have heard to date. It does have a Brothers Grimm vibe with the line ‘Mirror, Mirror, how far will I go?’ but I think the overarching theme seems to be how can you close your eyes to all the heartbreaking awfulness of the world once they have been opened. That and Spigers. Those things are terrifying.
Dark Signs – I really love the line ‘I blame our egos and you call me names’. Of course you do you damn hippy stop pretending you like metal. If you know the song you’ll know that is the line where the softness breaks and I think every song on this album does this. It’s really fucking angry then it lightens up and becomes beautiful. That’s musical magic to the ears of a non musical conformist such as myself. Although if you put a gun to my head it’s punk every time.
Metaphor – And the winner is…of course it is, like you didn’t guess, unless you are reading this post out of pure boredom and have absolutely no idea who In Flames are. This is the softest and most beautiful song on the album and I’m going to venture a top ten on my personal favorites in that category. This isn’t metal. This is a mainly acoustic build up of insecurity and failure. A place I have been dwelling a lot lately so it’s nice to re-listen to this album, rediscover this cracker of a record and reacquaint myself with this warm, cosy, cuddle up and wallow song.
Black and White – I was always a bit confused as to why Metaphor didn’t finish the album but in hindsight this song actually is the perfect closer. It’s a bit of a sly fuck you song. It’s not an obvious ‘Hey you suck’ number but more of a highbrow ‘Good Afternoon, Sir, you doth Sucketh!’ all wrapped up in an adrenaline pumped metal musical doozy.
This is my first perfect album review. This is a perfect album. That’s not to say it’s better than any of the others I have reviewed but I enjoy every single last bit of it so by my books that’s a must listen.
Reroute to Remain or Fourteen Songs of Conscious Insanity was released way back in 2002 when I was the grand old age of 15 and although I wasn’t aware of them at that time, within the year they would be one of only two bands I’d talk about if we were talking metal post 70’s.
It was mostly recorded in the house the band were renting at the time except for the drums which were recorded in the Dug-Out studios in Denmark.
It only ever charted in Germany at number 23 but remember that commercial success is overrated. I would take this any day over many a platinum selling record. This band are still around kicking out jam after fucking jam and the quality and evolution of their sound has never faltered.
Big thumbs up to drummer Danielle Svenson and bassist Peter Iwers who I didn’t mention in my review but do kick ass jobs at their individual roles.
In Flames are a phenomenal metal band or melodic death metal as Wikipedia so informs me, what does that even mean? Stupid fucking genres. If I make up genres of music I get told off or greeted with a tirade of raised eyebrows.
You should check out this band if you’re unsure about metal but want to give it a bit of a go. I think it’s the perfect metal training wheels band.
I don’t care what you think The Prodigy are punkelectro as are Spinnerette and The Slits are Riot-Grrrl Reggae.
Yes I know The Slits pre-dated riot grrl by a gazillion years but you wouldn’t have had the movement without bands like The Slits, so suck my tits!
Thanks so much for reading.
You can follow me on the interwebs:
Twitter Here: @cowardlycomics
Goodreads Here: Currently reading Orchid vol 2 by Tom Morello
Spotify Here: I recommend the Everyday Awesome playlist.