In Flames - A Sense Of Purpose review



Reviewer:
9.4

868 users:
6.38
Band: In Flames
Album: A Sense Of Purpose
Release date: April 2008


01. The Mirror's Truth
02. Disconnected
03. Sleepless Again
04. Alias
05. I'm The Highway
06. Delight And Angers
07. Move Through Me
08. The Chosen Pessimist
09. Sober And Irrelevant
10. Condemned
11. Drenched In Fear
12. March To The Shore
13. Eraser [bonus]
14. Tilt [bonus]
15. Abnegation [bonus]


What a tragedy A Sense Of Purpose is; not because it's hopelessly awful, but because it's been unfairly lambasted for years. Unfortunately, there is no way to correct the damage already done or to change the minds of those who are still mourning the loss of the "Jester Race/Whoracle" era twenty years after the fact, but at least some just dues can finally be given. Measuring from today, In Flames were 1/4th of the way through their career when they moved from making music that offered a very somber, individual experience to music that a group of people could easily enjoy together without needing a PhD in The Evolution of Underground Metal to appreciate it. And what a ride it has been.

Don't think I'm discounting their early years in any way here; In Flames were a once-in-a-lifetime band that made music unparalleled in the black metal genre to this day. It's difficult to overstate how much they changed metal, being one of the primary influencers in the melodeath boom from the late '90s into the 2000s and credited as the pioneers of the Gothenburg style. Being considered an equal to Emperor in a time when Emperor was at the top of the metal world is evidence enough of why so many fans never left the vortex of brilliance they crafted with their first few albums.

It's hard to accurately place why, but Clayman largely received a pass from old-school In Flames fans despite the album very much feeling like extreme nu metal. Reroute To Remain, however, is when everything went topsy-turvy and the band became almost unidentifiable. The shift had been foreshadowed but the extent of the change wasn't anything anyone, myself included, could have imagined. It was still a solid album, and one I listened to on continuous repeat when I was in college, but there was no denying it was aimed at a completely different audience than their earlier material. Many older fans felt betrayed and refused to even give them the time of day. Soundtrack To Your Escape being an inconsistent mess didn't help either.

It was in the wake of this fallout that Come Clarity and A Sense Of Purpose came along to try to prove the new direction wasn't some affront to be shunned but rather an incredibly innovative band continuing to be just that. Come Clarity was certainly a big improvement from their last album and I remember metal fans in my personal life who barely knew anything about underground metal raving about In Flames because of it. To me, A Sense Of Purpose continued the direction of Come Clarity but made the formula even tighter, crafting an album without a single bad song on it. This is not something I say lightly either; most of my favorite albums have at least one track I don't care for, so to enjoy everything on an album is incredibly rare for me.

What was truly shocking to me is how "The Chosen Pessimist" became one of my best friend's favorite songs from pretty much the moment he first heard it and how he was angry at me for not sharing it with him sooner. It is definitely one of the heaviest emotional moments of the In Flames's discography and being in such a juxtaposition to the rocking music around it only makes it that much more special. If nothing else, this one song was able to demonstrate that their new direction wasn't empty mainstream-pandering schlock, but music trying to hit on a different level that wouldn't have been possible with their original style.

- In Short - Is A Sense Of Purpose perfect? No, as with anything, if you look for flaws, then they're there, but does it deserve the scorn it seems to receive? Not at all, in my opinion. Every song has a hook that will drag you in and keep you coming back, the entire album is strong from front to back, and a few individual songs help to elevate the experience to another level. There is a generous balance of clean and rough vocals, along with Jasper's trademark "somewhere in between" range that is the driving force of nearly every song no different than it was in their earliest days. Well worth a listen.

For A Taste, Check Out: "Drenched in Fear", "The Chosen Pessimist", "Sleepless Again"


Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Production: 10

Written by WayTooManyCDs | 10.05.2018


 


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

Staff review by
Baz Anderson
Rating:
4.5
Over the past few years In Flames have been wandering down questionable paths as far as long-time fans are concerned, some abandoned the band completely and the others decided that the new In Flames isn't really all that bad after all, and stuck with them. "A Sense Of Purpose" is a shockingly low blow to the second group of people here as In Flames continue to push towards the twelve-year-old, black dyed fringe bearing individual market - and this time do it in a way that indefinitely is the straw that breaks the camel's back and will not be tolerated by long-running fans.

Read more ››
published 26.03.2008 | Comments (129)


Comments

Comments: 12   Visited by: 126 users
10.05.2018 - 06:59
EricAxel36
In my opinion ASOP isn't anywhere near as bad as everything that came after it, but Come Clarity was the best album post-Colony.

Also find it weird that the bonus tracks are better than 2/3 of this album!
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10.05.2018 - 08:59
WayTooManyCDs
I definitely agree that the bonus tracks are among the best material. It's kind of like with Katatonia's "Last Fair Deal Gone Down", the album itself is quite good but the EP material (that was eventually added as bonus tracks) is in a whole other league.
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10.05.2018 - 12:00
Sword_Chant
I'm not sure I agree with the rating of this review lol, 9.4 is incredibly generous and imo this album and any album after Come Clarity was the band's downfall, with the odd 1/2 songs that were ok. The only thing I could enjoy on this album were the riffs and melodies, especially the intro in I'm The Highway.

Come Clarity was a great album but couldn't help but feel like anything after that album they began to lose inspiration and release the same sound again and again. And I also struggled with Jesper's whining vocals that he began to sing from this point onwards. I respect the opinion of the reviewer though and this opinion is just mine as a fan of their older music, I really do miss the sound from any of their first few albums and find it to be much better, and more interesting musically.
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10.05.2018 - 13:45
s_t_s
Sorry but I didn't go through the whole review as the first lines were offending enough. NO I am NOT a Colony lover, the first IF album I ever listened to was Soundtrack To Your Escape and though I once owned them I sold their earlier albums. A Sense Of Purpose is just a bad album, not even talking about IF. It's bad, period. Took me some time to get into Sounds Of A Playground Fading but today I love it (but for the cheesy Liberation song). Yet I cannot enjoy ASOP or Siren Charms or Battles. It's really sad to see such band go down into quality and offer cheesy pop songs instead of what we used to ge given. My opinion anyway, don't share it, no problem.
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10.05.2018 - 14:56
WayTooManyCDs
Appreciate the feedback. I know Anders vocals have been a contentious element ever since he started "singing" but I ended up really enjoying his side project Passenger (though it did take quite a few listens to adjust to) and this album feels like a mix between that style and In Flames. Maybe having that buffer helped me to see this effort in a different light than most.
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18.05.2018 - 00:27
BloodJuNkie
The Warchief
Yeah compared to their post SOAPF albums, this album is a masterpiece lol
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03.01.2019 - 22:23
s_t_s
Written by BloodJuNkie on 18.05.2018 at 00:27

Yeah compared to their post SOAPF albums, this album is a masterpiece lol


Are you fuckinh serious about this ?
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12.01.2019 - 11:33
BloodJuNkie
The Warchief
Written by s_t_s on 03.01.2019 at 22:23

Written by BloodJuNkie on 18.05.2018 at 00:27

Yeah compared to their post SOAPF albums, this album is a masterpiece lol


Are you fuckinh serious about this ?


You want to tell me Siren Charms or Battles is better than ASOP?
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13.01.2019 - 23:10
s_t_s
Written by BloodJuNkie on 12.01.2019 at 11:33

Written by s_t_s on 03.01.2019 at 22:23

Written by BloodJuNkie on 18.05.2018 at 00:27

Yeah compared to their post SOAPF albums, this album is a masterpiece lol


Are you fuckinh serious about this ?


You want to tell me Siren Charms or Battles is better than ASOP?


Nope, what I meant is that A Sense Of Purpose, Siren Charms and Battles are mostly bad except for a few songs here or there. Last IF album I really enjoy is Sounds Of A Playground Fading (except for crappy Liberation bonus track).
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14.01.2019 - 01:45
BloodJuNkie
The Warchief
Written by s_t_s on 13.01.2019 at 23:10

Written by BloodJuNkie on 12.01.2019 at 11:33

Written by s_t_s on 03.01.2019 at 22:23

Written by BloodJuNkie on 18.05.2018 at 00:27

Yeah compared to their post SOAPF albums, this album is a masterpiece lol


Are you fuckinh serious about this ?


You want to tell me Siren Charms or Battles is better than ASOP?


Nope, what I meant is that A Sense Of Purpose, Siren Charms and Battles are mostly bad except for a few songs here or there. Last IF album I really enjoy is Sounds Of A Playground Fading (except for crappy Liberation bonus track).


Yes SOAPF was really good but A Sense of Purpose is better than Siren Charms and Battles musically. Also the latter 2 albums contained many mediocre pop-ish tracks that what makes ASOP even better. It's still not one of In Flames best albums as it can't be compared with any album from Come Clarity and before.
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15.01.2019 - 14:01
s_t_s
Written by BloodJuNkie on 14.01.2019 at 01:45

Written by s_t_s on 13.01.2019 at 23:10

Written by BloodJuNkie on 12.01.2019 at 11:33

Written by s_t_s on 03.01.2019 at 22:23

Written by BloodJuNkie on 18.05.2018 at 00:27

Yeah compared to their post SOAPF albums, this album is a masterpiece lol


Are you fuckinh serious about this ?


You want to tell me Siren Charms or Battles is better than ASOP?


Nope, what I meant is that A Sense Of Purpose, Siren Charms and Battles are mostly bad except for a few songs here or there. Last IF album I really enjoy is Sounds Of A Playground Fading (except for crappy Liberation bonus track).


Yes SOAPF was really good but A Sense of Purpose is better than Siren Charms and Battles musically. Also the latter 2 albums contained many mediocre pop-ish tracks that what makes ASOP even better. It's still not one of In Flames best albums as it can't be compared with any album from Come Clarity and before.


Agreed except that I find Clayman and Colony a bit too oldschool for my likings today yet they are very good, no question. Don't know why but these days I'm feeling nostalgic when it comes to IF. Used to like them so much, what a f*cking disappointment with every new single !
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02.02.2019 - 17:53
BloodJuNkie
The Warchief
Written by s_t_s on 15.01.2019 at 14:01

Written by BloodJuNkie on 14.01.2019 at 01:45

Written by s_t_s on 13.01.2019 at 23:10

Written by BloodJuNkie on 12.01.2019 at 11:33

Written by s_t_s on 03.01.2019 at 22:23

Written by BloodJuNkie on 18.05.2018 at 00:27

Yeah compared to their post SOAPF albums, this album is a masterpiece lol


Are you fuckinh serious about this ?


You want to tell me Siren Charms or Battles is better than ASOP?


Nope, what I meant is that A Sense Of Purpose, Siren Charms and Battles are mostly bad except for a few songs here or there. Last IF album I really enjoy is Sounds Of A Playground Fading (except for crappy Liberation bonus track).


Yes SOAPF was really good but A Sense of Purpose is better than Siren Charms and Battles musically. Also the latter 2 albums contained many mediocre pop-ish tracks that what makes ASOP even better. It's still not one of In Flames best albums as it can't be compared with any album from Come Clarity and before.


Agreed except that I find Clayman and Colony a bit too oldschool for my likings today yet they are very good, no question. Don't know why but these days I'm feeling nostalgic when it comes to IF. Used to like them so much, what a f*cking disappointment with every new single !


Yeah I know that feel, I still listen to their old and new stuff though. My every new album's problem is that after the first 1-2 listens for their pop-ish tracks I totally dislike them but by time those songs grow on me just because they're catchy. That is why I let it pass and I listen to those songs even on repeat. That doesn't ignore the fact that some pop-ish tracks aren't tolerable by me because they are just bad pop (not that i have anything against the genre). Some other tracks are good musically with okay vocals and as an In Flames fan I would enjoy listening to them. This is applied for those tracks from ASOP album to their latest album. Old and new In Flames are two different styles, their old stuff were way better musically and vocally even the lyrics were better, their new stuff could be better when it comes to art works nothing more but I'm fine with that as they're free to introduce whatever they want. Problem is people have to stop comparing between old and new stuff, we could just hope to see something more into Reroute to Remain - Sounds of A Playground Fading era.
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