In a music scene full of seemingly endless subgenres and transient trends, In Flames are an example of what it means to steadfastly stay true to your vision. Since forming in Gothenburg, Sweden in 1990, the legendary melodic metal act has had six albums debut in the top ten in Sweden (including two #1 debuts), toured alongside everyone from Metallica to Judas Priest and influenced many of today's biggest metal acts without ever ceasing to push their own signature sound forward. In that spirit, the band's twelfth full-length Battles sees In Flames eschewing proven formulas in favor of trying new things, most notably finding a new collaborator in Grammy-nominated producer Howard Benson (My Chemical Romance, The Used), who was brought into the band's coveted inner circle in order make Battles an album that will appeal to every type of In Flames fan.
Although the band was only planning on recording 11 songs, they actually came away with 15 of them and this inspiration was partially due to Benson's influence on the overall process. "I think it really helped having a producer who could make us focus on what we needed to accomplish and keep us on track," vocalist Anders Fridén notes. "This was a very new approach for us because we've never let anyone else in the way we did with Howard," guitarist Bjorn Gelotte adds. "We met with a lot of producers prior to starting this album and he seemed like the only guy who didn't want to change anything; he just wanted to make sure we were making the best In Flames record that we could and it just felt right. It's not that we aren't happy doing things ourselves. We just thought we would try something different because that's what this band has always been about."
That confidence and palpable excitement is dripping all over Battles from the instantly infectious "take the power back" anthem "The Truth" to the jaw-dropping technical brutality of "Through My Eyes" and distinctive groove and climactic chorus of the album's title track. In other words, the album sees the band making the hooks sharper, the riffs tighter and honing the overall attack in a way that parallels their legendary live shows in an unparalleled fashion. "When people hear this album I think they're going to instantly know that it's the new In Flames without us repeating the same song over and over, and that's something I'm incredibly proud of," Fridén says. "There's something in the fingers of the guys and my voice that's undeniable, but I really hope that our songwriting is something that can continue to evolve the way it did here in the future."