A Sense of Purpose is trademark In Flames– catchy melodic riffs abound, Anders Fridén's signature rasp is in full form, and electronic beeps, bleeps, and synth pads flesh out that unmistakable In Flames sound. The fist-raising anthems are here, but we've heard them all before.
Sure, for long-time In Flames devotees, living album-to-album like junkies waiting for their next fix, 'A Sense of Purpose' will be a welcome and familiar dose of melodic industrial death metal. The rest of us? We'll likely just dust off our old copies of Whoracle or Colony.
It's a shame really, because one gets the sense that they're capable of so much more. Sure, the album they keep making over and over again is a good album, but In Flames may have missed an opportunity to capitalize on their growing popularity by pushing the envelope, bringing to the table something fresh, innovative, even potentially mind-blowing.
Or perhaps their every move is precisely calculated– perhaps Fridén and crew are doing exactly what they mean to be doing. After all, artistic criticisms aside, In Flames are looking rather good in the numbers department. The band has been climbing the Billboard charts lately– 2004's Soundtrack to Your Escape peaked at #145 and their last effort, Come Clarity, entered the charts at #58.
Add to this their recent move in the US from the tiny Ferret label to one of the world's largest independent labels, Koch (boasting distribution through Universal Music Group) as well as continued support from long-time home Nuclear Blast, and A Sense of Purpose certainly seems poised to be In Flames' most successful outing to date.