Been thinking about the band's direction recently and a thought sprung to my mind. This might be a bit controversial, I'm not sure if many people will agree with it, but I'll say it anyways. Following SOAPF I'm not sure if I can continue believing in the traditional split of "old" and "new" In Flames being pre-Clayman and post-Reroute. In that model of events, In Flames seemed to be consistently drifting away from a melodic death metal sound, away from albums which functioned as a whole and instead creating albums which were more collections of songs. Anders' vocals became consistently high-pitched screams... (etc. etc. this has been done to death by all of us.) But from this year onwards I think we've gone beyond "old" In Flames and "new" In Flames and the band is now sitting in a bridging point between the two as just "In Flames." The setlist at the moment has a great balance of older and newer songs, Anders has begun to sound like the man who put vocals down for Whoracle and Colony again, when it is required of him, as well as being able to sing The Quiet Place and Take This Life as they were written. This as opposed to before when he would sing songs like Jotun with vocals in the style of Come Clarity. The attitude towards the older material seems to be more positive "If you don't know this, you know nothing about In Flames." As opposed to it being a burden which had to be played at least a little to satisfy the "Old Timers." That and SOAPF itself is an album which seems to combine the best elements of everything In Flames have ever been, it's heavy and aggressive, beautifully melodic, it's got low growls, high screams, great clean vocals all in abundance, it's got acoustic sections, synth melodies, awesome twin-lead harmonies, interesting song structures, both personal and global lyrics. I can't see it as part of the progression that started with Reroute, and while it's definitely not the pure folk-driven MDM of the early days it has elements of it, it seems to be a perfect point between the two. All in all, I think it's a great time to be a fan of the band. They seem to be in a really strong place and maybe (just maybe) in a position where they can please everyone for a change?