Walking the line between brutality and accessibility can be tricky for a bad-ass metal band. Metallica, for example, gained more radio play than ever with its infamous "black album," but left many of its longtime fans weeping over what they felt was a despicable artistic compromise. Sweden's In Flames, however, has consistently delivered only the most explosive, unholy melodic death metal throughout its nearly two-decade, eight-album career. The quintet's latest release, A Sense of Purpose, includes the familiar dueling guitars of Bjorn Gelötte and Jesper Strömblad, the devilishly dynamic vocals of Anders Fridén, as well as some of the most memorable melodies and sticky hooks the outfit has yet produced. The difference for In Flames is that the catchy riffs and melodies emerge organically rather than being assembled to pander to a perceived demographic. While insecure and close-minded detractors might still cry "sellout," most of the metal world is happily in flames.
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