After spending the bulk of their career pioneering the soaring sonic brutality that is melodic death metal, In Flames find themselves continuing down the path of progressive alt-metal on their 11th studio album, Siren Charms. Given the blazing, fretboard-melting music the Gothenburg band has put out in the past, the pace, or lack thereof, of Siren Charms makes the album feel a bit too casual, and makes it another in a long line of increasingly tame outings from the band, who had been steadily changing their sound for years before going all in after the departure of primary songwriter Jesper Strömblad with 2011's Sound of a Playground Fading. Although this change, seen by some as the "Americanization" of their sound, has steadily taken root, the band's last couple of albums have really seen it start to bear fruit. As their second album as a songwriting team, it would seem that Siren Charms is the embodiment of the vision that Björn Gelotte and Anders Friden have for the band as it moves forward. Rather than sprint, the album tends to sprawl, making songs like "Through Oblivion" and "When the World Explodes" feel like the work of a more aggressive Dream Theater than In Flames. By most any standard, Siren Charms is a solidly written and executed metal album, but when held up against groundbreaking, genre-defining work the band has come up with in the past, it's a far cry from what they're capable of. That said, if In Flames' last decade of material has been your cup of tea, than Siren Charms is likely to sit well with you, but for those still holding out for a return to the glory of their work from the '90s, the wait continues.
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AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney