In Flames – Siren Charms


…where Gothenburg-styled melodic death metal is all but absent

Review by Raymond Westland

Sony Music

Release date: 5 September 2014

After the departure of main songwriter Jesper Strömblad (former) melodic death metal outfit In Flames went through a lot of trials and tribulations with many longtime fans questioning out loud whether the band was still able to deliver the goods. With Niclas Engelin on guitar duties Sounds Of A Playground Fading was recorded. However, Fridén and Co never quite managed to capture the energy and creative level of their older work and this reflected on the aforementioned album. Four years later, In Flames returns with a new record, entitled Siren Charms.

People who are hoping for a return to the good ol’ Whoracle and Colony days can stop reading this review, because any type of Gothenburg-styled melodic death metal is all but absent on Siren Charms. Given, there are some twin guitar leads on ‘With Eyes Wide Open’, ‘Rusted Nail’ and ‘Dead Eyes’, but that is as good as it gets in regards to any musical hints of the band’s pre-Reroute To Remain period. Anders Fridéns trademark screams of yesteryear are pretty much kept to a bare bones minimum. So, does this mean that Siren Charm is another cat-in-the-bag like the previous album?

Not quite, to be honest. The overall songwriting on Siren Charms is surprisingly strong and cohesive and memorable hooks and catchy choruses are never far away. The Hypocrisy-inspired ‘Everything’s Gone’ will rattle your teeth because of its innate heaviness and very much the same goes for ‘When The World Explodes’ and the earlier mentioned ‘Dead Eyes’. The lighter touch of ‘Through Oblivion’ and ‘Monsters In The Ballroom’ may feel out of place at first, but they work very well with the heavier material on this record. The tasteful keyboard work by long time In Flames collaborator Örjan Örnkloo and the brickwall type of production give Siren Charms a very contemporary feel.

If anything, Siren Charms is solid through and through. The zeal and conviction of the band’s earlier works may very well be a thing of the past, but the latest album by Anders Fridén and Co. pretty much tick all the right boxes when it comes to a modern metal record. It may not be to everyone’s liking, but Siren Charms is living proof In Flames isn’t living on borrowed time and there’s still plenty of proverbial kick left.

In Flames – Siren Charms7.5 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. In Plain View
  2. Everything’s Gone
  3. Paralyzed
  4. Through Oblibion
  5. With Eyes Wide Open
  6. Siren Charms
  7. When The World Explodes
  8. Rusted Nail
  9. Dead Eyes
  10. Monsters In The Ballroom
  11. Filtered Truth