Sound — 9
First off for all the people that werent impressed by "ASOP", a band has to able to mature and evolve their sound, that being said In Flames did something much different here than I thought they would, it is a further evolution of thier newer sound, for long time fans the departure of jespers was a huge blow. Anyways this album surprised me by how it sounds like something from reroute or soundtrack mixed with the newer sound of "ASOP" and "Come Clarity". As a fan of reroute and soundtrack its a sound I was happy to here, Bjorn Gelotte has done a phenomenal job filling in the songwriting slot left by Jespers, he appears to have gelled well with Engelin, the riffs the two of them play remind of older In Flames. The two most under rated members of In Flames Iwers and Svensson have really broke through here, Svensson has most definetly gotten better as the years have gone by, and Iwers has always been just a smooth bass player with the perfect sound. The sound of In Flames has never been a problem for this band they appear to be getting better as they go. They experimented with a lot of electronics on this album and it has paid off. Although no "Clayman" or "Colony", it is the best they have sounded in a long while. A new dawn does sound like it could be plucked right out of "Colony".
Lyrics — 8
Anders has actually tightened up his technique a lot since the last album and it shows a lot, it does leave a lot of questions though? He appears to be moving towards not using his growls anymore. Although it may be a good thing as they move towards further mainstream success but it will continue to alienate purists from 1999 backwards. I do love that there are some instances of the old ways on here and they were placed and executed well. Anders actually did very good job of writing the lyrics for this album they fit the music perfectly. This is an album that will take a couple of listens too to fully embrace the lyrics but on first run thru they are good, but still not the gems that were songs like "Satellites And Astronauts", "Pinball Map" and others.
Overall Impression — 9
This album is something that shows a band can move on with the departure of a founding member. The skills of In Flames are progressing as they move more towards mainstream. This album while not the best in there catalogue it is a mature, handsomely executed blend of everything In Flames has recorded since 1999, with superb guitar work and above average vocals. If stolen I would buy this album again. The guitars drums and bass all blend into a beautiful sound. Faves: "Sounds Of A Playground Fading", "Deliver Us", "A New Dawn", "Enter Tragedy", "Where The Dead Ships Dwell". Worst: "All For Me".