In Flames Album Ranking
Established over 30 years ago in 1990, In Flames are one of the pioneering Swedish melodic death metal bands alongside the likes of Dark Tranquility and At The Gates. The band's evolution throughout the years has attracted both praise and criticism depending on the listener's preference as the band have shown no fear in terms of experimentation.
Fast forward to 2023, with 14 studio albums under their belts, various lineup changes and worldwide recognition, In Flames don't show any signs of slowing down. Here, we rank all 14 studio albums in reverse order, worst to best.
Release Year: 2016
12th Studio Album
As far as In Flames records go, this one in particular is somewhat bland, generic and the production quality isn't the greatest either. A generally unremarkable record with only one halfway decent track at best.
Stand-out Track(s): The End
13: Siren Charms
Release Year: 2014
11th Studio Album
This record is best described as more of an alt-rock genre and it's probably In Flames' most accessible and radio-friendly of their discography. The occasional gutteral vocal and chuggy riff here and there but overall, again quite unremarkable.
Stand-out Track(s): Paralyzed
12: Siren Charms
Release Year: 2019
13th Studio Album
In Flames started to pick up the shattered remains of their capabilities and attempted to stick them back together again with this record. Although it's still not the greatest record in their discography, it certainly has more life to it compared to the previous two records in this ranking. Having said that, the 8-bit version of this record is pretty cool.
Stand-out Track(s): I, The Mask
11: Lunar Strain
Release Year: 1994
This record stands out drastically compared to the rest of the band's discography. Not only were the band trying to find their footing in the Swedish Death and Melo-Death scenes, they also incorporated a lot of black metal, neoclassical elements and Scandinavian folk inspirations in to their music. It's the only record that doesn't feature Anders Fridén on vocals; the band had recruited Mikael Stanne of Dark Tranquility for vocal duties. In fact, both vocalists traded places and have remained that way ever since.
Stand-out Track(s): Dreamscape, Everlost Part 2, In Flames, Clad In Shadows, Behind Space
10: A Sense of Purpose
Release Year: 2008
9th Studio Album
This was the final record to feature founding guitarist and last original member Jesper Strömblad. This record divided fan opinion (as most of their records do) and is more melodically and melancholically inclined compared to the band's earlier records.
Stand-out Track(s): Disconnected, Alias, The Chosen Pessimist
9: Sounds of a Playground Fading
Release Year: 2011
10th Studio Album
This record has an overall darker/gothic groove feel to it both musically and in the album artwork. It was also a pivotal point for the band as it was the first record to be released without Jesper Strömblad at the musical helm and his influence is notably missing.
Stand-out Track(s): Sounds of a Playground Fading, Deliver Us, The Puzzle, Where The Dead Ships Dwell
8: Soundtrack to Your Escape
Release Year: 2004
7th Studio Album
One of the band's darker records which incorporates some of those synthy moments that were captured in Reroute to Remain. The riffage takes on a more metalcore edge and the nu-metal style influences split fan opinion but it still retains a heavy chugging style and vicious vocal ability.
Stand-out Track(s): The Quiet Place, Dead Alone, Like You Better Dead, My Sweet Shadow, Borders and Shading.
7: Come Clarity
Release Year: 2006
8th Studio Album
This album was originally going to be called "Crawling Through Knives" and is often cited as their strongest offering since their highly successful 90s and early 00s run. It's incredibly catchy and ferocious, blending together older melodic death metal and a modern metalcore approach. Come Clarity is considered to be the band's "metalcore" album.
Stand-out Track(s): Take This Life, Come Clarity, Crawling Through Knives, Reflect the Storm, Dead End, Leeches.
6: Reroute to Remain
Release Year: 2002
6th Studio Album
One of the band's more accessible records after they took a more user-friendly approach with a heavier synth presence and a more modern sound, especially compared to the record's predecessor. Taking a distinctly different route away from the melodic death metal Gothenburg sound the band had perfected. This record simultaneously annoyed old school fans and gained new, eager fans at the same time.
Stand-out Track(s): System, Trigger, Cloud Connected, Free Fall
Release Year: 2023
14th Studio Album
It's here that In Flames begin to rediscover that great combination of thunderous melodic death riffage and incredibly catchy hooks. The power behind this record is unbelievable and it can get heavily emotive in parts. It gives the old school crowd enough of their old Gothenburg sound whilst still continuing with their evolution. Although it's not quite at the same standard as their "Big 4" records, it certainly is a lot stronger than the records that were released after 2006's Come Clarity.
Stand-out Track(s): State of Slow Decay, Meet Your Maker, Bleeding Out, A Dialogue in B Flat Minor.
Release Year: 1997
3rd Studio Album
This is a concept album surrounding the past, present and future of the planet and mankind. It centers around the rise and fall of society due to an apocalyptic event. The record itself is incredibly heavy and aggressive with epic riffage and flying solos. The energy is absolutely crushing but the unexpected ballad of 'Jester Script Transfigured' and the cover of Depeche Mode's 'Everything Counts' somehow works.
Stand-out Track(s): Dialogue with the Stars, The Hive, Jester Script Transfigured, Worlds Within the Margin.
3: The Jester Race
Release Year: 1996
2nd Studio Album
The first record to feature Anders Fridén as the vocalist and it was also the first to feature The Jester Head as the band's official mascot. This record is sharp and concentrated compared to the somewhat chaotic and rampaging debut that came before it. An absolutely monumental record which helped to pave the way for that incredible Gothenburg sound and for the melodic death metal genre in general. Epically charged riffs, acoustic elements and huge, atmospheric ferocity.
Stand-out Track(s): Moonshield, The Jester Race, December Flower, Dead Eternity.
Release Year: 2000
5th Studio Album
An incredibly dark record with tracks centered around the themes of depression and dark inner turmoil. The band start to deviate away from their signature melodic death metal sound and start to branch out and experiment with various other elements but it's here that many fans believe to be the beginning of the end for the band. Synth elements were introduced on this record with more clean vocal melodies. Still, this record is incredibly intense and is often seen as their most popular album. The artwork for the record is based off Leonardo Da Vinci's 'Vitruvian Man' dated circa 1490.
Stand-out Track(s): Bullet Ride, Pinball Map, Only For the Weak, World of Promises.
Release Year: 1999
4th Studio Album
The theme of this iconic record centres around religion, society and spirituality in various aspects. An absolute masterpiece of melodic death metal. It's ferocious, intense, fast-paced and completely unrelentless with catchy hooks and lots of addictive atmosphere and solid energy.
Stand-out Track(s): The entire album