In Flames are my favorite band. The first time I saw them live was in 2002 opening for Slayer and Soulfly right before Reroute came out. Since then I have seen them 9 more times. (ozzfest '05, 4 times touring for come clarity and 4 times touring for ASOP)
This album is better than what I expected, with a title so horrible it's not too tough. I honestly think that Anders is holding this band back. Ever since Soundtrack his vocals and lyrics have been weak. Come Clarity was a very heavy album BUT it is SO obvious that there are distortion effects added to his "screaming." A Sense of Purpose had some great tracks musically but Anders ruined them with his horrible/generic vocal delivery/LYRICS. Sounds of a Playground Fading is no different.
Here is my quick and to the point song by song breakdown:
1. SOAPF: Solid clean intro, catchy riff once it bust's in, even Anders "chorus" isn't too awful.
2. Deliver Us: I hated this song when I first heard it but I can't help but head-bang now, it is pretty god-damn catchy.
3. All For Me: .........meh. I guess it.....doesn't suck?
4. The Puzzle: OH! it's fast! it's heavy! it must be awesome! lame.
5. Fear is the Weakness: Nice as a Soilwork cover, bad as an In Flames song.
6. Where the Dead Ships Dwell: VERY generic main riff but I'm sure this one will be fun to see live.
7. The Attic: ummm
8. Darker Times: Pretty "nu-metal" sounding but I don't mind this track.
9. Ropes: This was at one point the worst In Flames song I'd ever heard. That was of course until I heard the rest of this album.
10. Enter Tragedy: Not bad. Still pretty "nu-metal" but it has a nice solo (as do a lot of songs on this album, just wanna get that out of the way, better solo's than the last album DEFINITELY)
11. Jester's Door: ....maybe that Attic song wasn't so bad after all......
12. A New Dawn: By far the best song in years. Great melodic intro, great riff leading into the verse, great SCREAMING verse, even the chorus is rocking. Great involvement of the strings too. I honestly can't say enough about this song.
13. Liberation: THIS is the worst In Flames song I've ever heard. Absolute garbage. I've heard some incredible softer songs from them (Metaphor, Dawn of a New Day, Evil in the Closet) but this is nothing but "made for radio" shit.