Megalithic Symphony Deluxe Edition
Despite multiple shifts in sound over their now-lengthy career, nowadays you pretty much know what you're getting with each new In Flames album. For the most part, the band has followed the same formula since 2002's Reroute to Remain, offering only mild variations on their aggressive but melodic metal sound as they move from album to album and producer to producer. And so despite losing one of their founding members and guitarists in the interim, it's no real surprise to find that Sounds of a Playground Fading largely follows the same trajectory as 2008's A Sense of Purpose, albeit with slight improvements - both sonically (a livelier, more punchy mix this time), and structurally (better pacing, more memorable songs). Though there's still some filler to be found and little here to win back the purists who bailed after 2000's Clayman, this is still an admirable effort, proving that these giants of Swedish melodic metal still have some gas left in the tank.