In Flames

Soundtrack to Your Escape

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AllMusic Review by

In Flames was certainly under the extreme-metal microscope upon the release of Soundtrack to Your Escape and its predecessor, Reroute to Remain. The band had the potential to crack the metal underground wide to the mainstream, existing on the cusp of international stardom with its progressive extrapolations upon the Swedish metal genre they helped create. Fact is, Soundtrack to Your Escape exists to further polarize In Flames' fan base -- "Touch of Red" and opening cut "F(r)iend" are their heaviest riff monsters since Colony, which blatantly contrast "The Quiet Place," which is jammed with cascading guitar melodies and a thick, sticky chorus which, in a just world, would make for a rock-radio smash. Anders Fridén is again using a myriad of vocal styles, including his mid-range death rasp (see "Dead Alone," with its old-school Swedish riffs seamlessly morphing into melodic passages), an awkward clean croon ("Like You Better Dead," "My Sweet Shadow"), and an electronically enhanced warble, all of which are multi-tracked for many choruses -- proving that Fridén may be In Flames' most powerful weapon now that the band's trademark ornate guitar flights are used somewhat sparingly. Some may cry foul when confronted by a lush ballad like "Evil in a Closet" or the relatively straightforward riffing of "Dial 595-Escape," but old-school whiners will be equally appeased with a barnburner like "In Search for I." Bottom line, In Flames are growing as songwriters with every passing release, and the debate over the style in which the tunes are conveyed really seems secondary when confronted with such a strong and cohesive album. Soundtrack to Your Escape will disappoint those looking to find fault with the leaders of the Swedish pack, while open-minded purveyors of metal will revel in the album's careful balance of credibility and accessibility. [The import digipack version includes a bonus track, "Discover Me Like Emptiness."]

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