Sound — 9
In Flames fans have been incredibly divided by their output since the new millennium. Their two albums 'Reroute To Remain' and 'Soundtrack To Your Escape' are continually criticised as being 'nu metal' and too commercial, especially when put next to classics like 'The Jester Race'. However, their last album, 2006's 'Come Clarity' was a definite step back towards their earlier, more melodic sound. So, this single/EP functions as a little taste of what to expect from their upcoming album 'A Sense Of Purpose' released next month. The sound is a very interesting one, as it takes the aggressive double-time punch of 'Come Clarity' (mostly thanks to Daniel Svensson's consistently stellar drumming) and the more melodic vocals of 'Reroute To Remain', but most interestingly the EP is filled with lead guitar work that was paramount to In Flames' earlier music. The only track that will appear on the full length, single 'The Mirror's Truth', is defined very much by a highly melodic chorus with an infectious lead guitar melody and a solid vocal line. Similarly, 'Eraser' and 'Tilt' are filled with brilliant little licks and harmonised riffs that bring together their sounds from across the years. Closer 'Abnegation' is an update of the first song fans heard from the band since 'Come Clarity', and unfortunately it is still fairly lacklustre but it still boasts a fantastic guitar solo. This EP really shows that In Flames have found a great sound for the band they are today, rather than attempting to copy their early sound or churn out more albums like 'Soundtrack To Your Escape'.
Lyrics — 7
The lyrics from vocalist Anders Fridn haven't been too strong for a good number of years, but the lyrics here seem to be a big step up from the poor attempts on 'Come Clarity'. The vocals themselves have also improved. Anders has clearly abandoned his vocal style from the band's 90's output but his new style has got better with each album it appears on. It's still far from ideal but it now suits the music quite well. The single itself features lyrics which seem to be about society and their reaction to political and environment events and with a topic like that the Anders of old could have easily made something very whiny out of it but he does a good job, and it's very promising.
Overall Impression — 10
This EP is incredibly promising, featuring three outstanding tracks and one mediocre one, which was thankfully left off of the full album. If you're new to In Flames, this EP isn't going to be the best introduction, but perhaps the newest full length will be. If you're a long-time In Flames fan who has given up on them ever making decent music again, you should still check this out because really their new sound has incredible potential and there are moments on all of these songs that could quite easily fit onto albums like 'Whoracle' and 'Colony'. Don't dismiss this band just yet.