In Flames - Siren Charms

In Flames - Siren Charms

(CD/LP, Epic Records, 2014)

“Siren Charms” is the latest IN FLAMES album and is another love or hate it situation that split fans into parties: the one has already banned the Swedes from the Metal scene and the other is willing to accept the inevitable changes that sometimes happen in a musician’s life and consequently in his songwriting. I guess this is the price for any band to pay when dealing with the die-hard and dedicated metalheads who have grown a habit of accepting only the music that is well-inside the boundaries of a specific genre. I mean, it is out of the question for any old-school band to embrace any modern elements... yeah, this is equal to blasphemy. Anyway, I have said it many times but one more won’t hurt; music is the property of the band creating it and no else’s. We - the fans that is - can either accept it or neglect it and not cause fuss about it by attacking (i.e. posting online comments and being a ‘harsh’ critic and a ‘know it all’) a band for changing musical course. Enough with my ranting and let’s talk about music.

“In Plain View” is the album opener and bears mixed signals because on one hand there is the Gothenburg Metal groove and the occasional screaming vocals but on the other the song is mellower as compared to the previous IN FLAMES releases. There is a clean intent to make the IN FLAMES sound more diverse and not just spend the precious studio time by doing the same thing over and over again. And I am saying this while being absolutely conscious of what is the cost of such radical changes. “Everything's Gone” is even heavier and I think it is closer to the latest IN FLAMES works, so I can consider this one as a bridge linking the old and the new. Generally speaking, the “Siren Charms” pill would have been ten-times easier to swallow if Anders Fridén wouldn’t have changed his singing style into being cleaner. I mean, once you’ve removed the vocals from “Through Oblivion” it’s IN FLAMES all the way (of course of the latest era) but Anders’ clean singing is a large deviation from the melodic Death Metal requirements however and after a couple of spins I think this works with the dark and moody atmosphere of the album like it is showcased in “With Eyes Wide Open”. I feel like this type of vocals fits better the lyrics that have stepped into the limelight as compared to the older albums where they had a supporting role. Being total aware of how this may sound, I’ll say that this album is the most mature work IN FLAMES have put out. There is more to discover with every album spin and then sink deeper in the darkness of the slower on average songs with the occasional climaxes expressed with growls/screams as it happens in the groovy “When The World Explodes” (love the female backing vocals here) and in the chorus of the moody “Filtered Truth”.

The painful (for some) truth is that IN FLAMES have moved on and “Siren Charms” is the result of the fermentation that has been going on since “Come Clarity”. Still, the album has a lot to offer and to my understanding brings different flavors in your IN FLAMES palate, so if you can invest more time, I am sure you will be rewarded in the end - I know this because it happened to me.

"Were all in this together
So I was told
All for one, one for none"





01. In Plain View
02. Everything's Gone
03. Paralyzed
04. Through Oblivion
05. With Eyes Wide Open
06. Siren Charms
07. When The World Explodes
08. Rusted Nail
09. Dead Eyes
10. Monsters In The Ballroom
11. Filtered Truth


Björn Gelotte - Guitar
Daniel Svensson - Drums
Niclas Engelin - Guitar
Peter Iwers - Bass
Anders Fridén - Vocals