In Flames Sounds of a Playground Fading

In Flames Sounds of a Playground Fading
Sweden's In Flames, despite being one of the originators of the melodic death metal scene in 1993, if not the first, have never strayed much from that sound. It if works, and it has ― their popularity has soared in the past few years ― why fix it? With their tenth album, nothing much is new, in terms of music, but vocalist Anders Friden's clean singing, something that has become more commonplace in the past few albums, is stronger than ever, and the general tempo, outside of prerequisite introspective track "The Attic," is more calculatingly crafted to be formatted for the Top 40 crowd. Even the harder-edged "Enter Tragedy," which begins with a hint of thrash, is softened by too-perfect production. Sounds of a Playground Fading features tight, catchy tunes, but while it's a must for long-time fans, it's a bit mundane for those looking for something unique. (Century Media)