In Flames
Lunar Strain


3.0
good

Review

by Thomas Michael Morris USER (36 Reviews)
February 19th, 2007 | 191 replies


Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist


Lunar Strain, In Flames’ debut was an interesting and unique release for the band. Present vocalist Anders Friden was with Dark Tranquillity, and fronting In Flames was none other than Mikael Stanne, the current vocalist for Dark Tranquility. This album sounds very different than any other In FLames album. In fact, it sounds a good deal like a Dark Tranquillity sound. Here we have a more mechanical, and less raw sound. This isn’t a bad thing at all, as the album proves to be a pretty solid release overall. Stanne is a great vocalist, and has more mid-pitched screams than those of Anders. The drumming is superb, and are delivered with great precision. The highlight of the cd are definitely the guitars, as in all In Flames albums. Songs like Upon an Oaken Throne and Starforsaken are almost like long guitar solos with lyrics. This album also has a very medieval feel to it, a much more classic and Swedish sound. Especially in the instrumental Hargalaten (which actually is a real Swedish song) and Everlost OVerall, this is a very solid release. Though no where near as good as In Flames’ next four albums, it proves to be stronger than the newer IF albums.

Track Analysis:

Behind Space: We are immediately thrust into the amazing and speedy riffs here. Stanne lets out a loud scream as the drums pound. This song has an interesting structure to it, and features many tempo changes. After the speedy intro, it changes to a slower and more melodic area. It then switches right back to the speed at the beginning, which is followed by a different riff that retains the speed and adds more melody. The whole song basically keeps repeating this process. However, at 2:04, and slower and erie riff comes in, backed by some keyboarding that makes you feel like you’re floating through deep space. This is the bridge to the solo, which is one of the best on the cd. It’s pretty fast, and very melodic. It actually sounds like it could’ve been on “The Jester Race.” After the solo, the first riff comes back. After a quick section of that, a beautiful acoustic part comes in. It plays for about a minute and a half and goes till the end. 8.5/10

Lunar Strain: The title track is next, and starts with a slow, creeping riff, much unlike the previous track. The verses have some furious screaming and more comes in the chorus, where Stanne screams “Lunar Strain.” (Later in the song it’s “astral strain”) The song speeds up a little for the chorus part, but then slows back down for a melodic bridge or the verse. At 2:09, a speedy and melodic riff comes in, leading through a bridge. At 2:29, a very melodic section comes in, bridging to the solo. The tempo gets faster at 2:38, and the solo starts. It’s actually not much of a solo, just some frantic picks and sweeps from the guitar. Now, the chorus changes from “Lunar Strain” to “Astral Strain.” The beginning riff comes in and brings the song to an end. 8.5/10

Starforsaken: Starts with a string section, that sounds very medieval. ALl of this is forgotten as a pummeling riff follows, with some aggressive drumming. Stanne then screams and the verse commences with awesomely fast double bass. This is one of the faster songs on the album overall, but slows down for some bridges, much like the previous tracks. The song just repeats from there till 2:52, where a blistering melodic riff comes in, which is kinda like a solo till the end. This is a very good track, though i a bit on the short side. 8/10

Dreamscape: Ahhh the first In Flames instrumental, and I believe it’s their second best behind “Dialogue with the stars” off “Whoracle.” It’s 3 and 3/4 minutes of pure melody and heavy riffs. It’s a bit repetitive in it’s length but stays vastly catchy for that not to really matter. There’ really not much to say about it, but it is really cool and a good listen. 8/10

Everlost Pt 1: The cd features it’s low point in the next few tracks. This is the slowest song on the album really easily. It has a cool and ominous sound to the riff. Stanne Screams loudly (like in most of the songs) to signify the beginning of the verse, which is pretty catchy actually. It’s just slow and creeping with very simple drumming. At 1:45, a short instrumental bridge comes in leading us back to the verse. At 3:31, the song actually does something different with a very melodic, though very short solo. OVerall, this isn’t a bad song at all, it’s pretty good once you get used to it. It’s just really slow and doesn’t change much. 7.5/10

Everlost Pt 2: !!!??? When I first heard this song, I was like “What the hell was that? And I still think that. It’s all clean guitars with no vocals from Stanne....NONE!!! It’s some female vocalists singing and though in a way the song is soothing, the woman’s voice is pretty damn annoying. Plus, you can understand what Stanne’s say better than her. I honestly thought she was speaking Swedish before I looked at the lyrics. It’s not all bad though. At 2:25, a very cool bluesy solo comes in and eventually fades out. Some may like this song, but I find it really annoying. IF the solo wasn’t at the end, this would get a really really low rating. 5/10

Hargalaten: This actually is a Swedish folk song. In Flames took it and did an instrumental of it, with basically just strings. It has a very organic and medieval feel to it, it’s an interesting listen. It’s adds a nice touch to the album, but could’ve been left off. 5/10

In Flames: My hopes were going down for this album after the past few songs. However, right when I saw that this song was titled after the band, my hopes went up. Mostly songs named after the band that performs it are kickass. This was no different. It’s a mid-tempo song basically, and starts with an amazing and heavy riff. A small solo-ish riff then comes in. The verses are slower than the intro, but are very catchy and have some great lyrics: “Atop the highest mountain, below the darkest depths, In the valley of hate I wander, my frostbitten heart is set ablaze.”The guitars are easily the standout of this track. They deliver with some amazingly catchy riffs throughout the whole song. After the verse repeats, the tempo changes at 2:06 to be much faster. The bass is very audible here and plays the same tune as the guitar in this bridge. The drums deliver it as well. Another verse comes in, only much faster. An clean section starts at 2:46 with some vocals in the background just “ahhing.” A great solo then comes in at 3:02. It’s about mid tempo but features some great licks from the guitar. The intro riff then repeats and the verse starts again. At 4:50, some wild soloing and screaming comes in and fades to the end. This is the longest song on the album at 5:33 a nd easily the best. 10/10

Upon an Oaken Throne: THis song is all about the shredding. It starts with an awesome and catchy riff and a mini solo then comes in at 0:23. This song has a bunch of kickass mini solos, they’re all really fast and melodic. The verses features the intro riff only faster with aggressive screaming. After each of the verses actually, a mini solo comes in. After the third verse, instead of a solo, the tempo slows and a bridge comes in leading to another slower verse. The tempo then comes back and the song ends with Stanne screaming “WILDFIRE.” This is an amazing song, it should’ve been a little longer than 2:50 though. 9.5/10

Clad in Shadows: This song starts with a heavy riff. OVerall, this song is kinda like a slower version of the last track. At 1:03, a nice solo comes in with keyboards and an interesting sounding guitar. It switches back and forth from slower to faster licks. The verse comes back. a More melodic solo comes in after the second verse, it’s also a little slower. It actually ends the song. This is a pretty good song, though short. 7.5/10

This is a solid debut overall by In flames. It features a Dark Tranquillity like sound. If you can get past the middle section, it’s a very good album. This album makes me wonder what In Flames would be like if Stanne became their permanent vocalist, same with DT.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Altmer
February 19th 2007


5652 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This album really annoys me because of the vocals. I can't get into this.

Yazz_Flute
February 19th 2007


18875 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

The vocals didn't bother me really. I love harsh vocals.

Digging: DIR EN GREY - Arche

TheHamburgerman
February 19th 2007


1302 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I also love harsh vocals, but these vocals are really not that good.

Decent review, I don't really like tbt's.This Message Edited On 02.19.07

Wizard
February 19th 2007


19644 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Another good review bodominflames! Have you been binging out on In Flames lately or what hahahaha! My least favourite album out of the In Flames catologue. Its good to see where the lead singer of Dark Tranquility started out because he is a very impressive vocalist today.

Digging: Ash Borer - Cold of Ages

Yazz_Flute
February 19th 2007


18875 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah, they're not great but I still enjpy them enough to like this album. Like I said before, the guitars are really what makes this a good listen.

Kage
February 19th 2007


1172 Comments


This album sucks a big one.

Syncratic
February 19th 2007


756 Comments


Can't say I'm a fan of these guys...didn't like "Clayman" at all...

Mikesn
Emeritus
February 19th 2007


3709 Comments


I still have to hear this. I have the Subterranear EP, but I'd still like to hear more Anders-less In Flames. Cool reviewThis Message Edited On 02.19.07

Yazz_Flute
February 19th 2007


18875 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thnx =D

I know I've said this loads of times, butr the guitar-work is really strong, probably some of the best by In Flames actually. At least better than the newer albums.

SoulReaper
April 9th 2007


185 Comments


im debating weather to get this cd or not so i was wondring if someone could send me a song or 2 from it... my email is mr_potatohead_99@hotmail.com...... thanks... nice review btw.

Yazz_Flute
April 9th 2007


18875 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

It's a pretty good record, but there's nothing spectacular about it except for the songs
"in Flames" ansd "upon an oaken throne"

THe other songs are pretty good for the most part, but not too special.

It's still a good listen too see how IF started thoThis Message Edited On 04.09.07

HotSalvation
April 9th 2007


258 Comments


This is some of the most metal stuff In Flames ever wrote.
The vocals are harsh, but it was recorded in '94, deal with it.

SoulReaper
April 9th 2007


185 Comments


well i wanna hear some stuff off of this cd first so could someone please send me a song?

Eakflanderyof
April 9th 2007


2143 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I haven't heard anything from this CD, but the cover art is awesome. I like their old logo better too. It's more metal This Message Edited On 04.09.07

Yazz_Flute
April 9th 2007


18875 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

yeah, old IF logo is awesome

FenderUsa
May 10th 2007


582 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

class man..uaot ftw also behind space in flames and clad in shadows This Message Edited On 07.24.07

FR33L0RD
June 27th 2007


1466 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Good Review....got my vote
==================
Excellent...Gothenburg Death Metal for a Debut Album
with Trash ,BlackMetal & Folk influences
Harsh_Vocals can be a turn-of for some

I find their Debut Album better than their last "Comes Clarity 2.5/5 "This Message Edited On 06.27.07

Eakflanderyof
July 21st 2007


2143 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Well, I finally listened to this and I must say that it's excellent. The guitar work is seriously some of their best and it's some of their heaviest material. The vocals are actually very black metal a lot of the time too.

Yazz_Flute
July 21st 2007


18875 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I disagree with the album being excellent as a whole, but the musicianship definately is amon their best, easily better than their 3 newest albums id say. But still id have to say this is either their worst or second worst release, its just not too amazing is all, though the song "In Flames" is amazing, as is "UAOT"

Hell why am i saying this i wrote all of this in the review =p (which i realize is overly generous in the */10 scores, i think ill edit it to be more accurate)

Eakflanderyof
July 21st 2007


2143 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Well, I think it's easily better than R2R and STYE.



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