In Flames- The Jester Race/Black Ash Inheritance
In Flames... one of the best melodic death metal bands. Although they may have gotten worse over the years, this CD represents one of the times they were at their peak. Combining melody with crunching guitars, amazing lyrics that make you think, and Gothenburg style death metal vocals, In Flames proved that they could structure their songs well, especially in comparison to their first, Lunar Strain (a great CD, but sounding as if many of the parts were simply put together without any thought.) I'll go through each of the songs
The album opens up promisingly with the amazing Moonshield. It begins with a great acoustic group of riffs, and then progresses into something more heavy. In the middle of the song, they return to using clean guitars for a simply beautiful riff that you'll want to play immediately. Combined with some great lyrics, you have a kickass song.
2. The Jester's Dance (Instrumental):
This song opens up promisingly with a creepy little clean guitar riff and some bass, but then starts to fail towards the heavy parts. Only two minutes long, so there's not much to write about.
3. Artifacts of the Black Rain:
The best song on the album. Begins with some kickass melodic distorted riffs, and follows with amazing riffs and "chorus" thing. Then goes into a great solo. Finishes off promisingly. Once again, the lyrics are amazing, and vocals fit completely with this song.
One of the weaker songs on the album. The guitar riffs don't really sound that impressive, and I'm not a fan of the weird singing voice they use for the chorus. The lyrics, once again, are great, dealing with humanity and how it destroys everything through greed and war, which is a theme througout the album.
5. Lord Hypnos
Not too great of a song either. Guitar riffs sound out of key and out of place at the beginning of the song. Lyrics don't really get to me either. However, there is an amazing part of the song during the middle that makes up for the rest. This middle part opens up with a clean riff for a couple of seconds, and then goes into an emotional and melodic guitar journey. Coupled with some death metal screams, this part is one of the best instrumental parts of the CD.
6. Dead Eternity:
This is a great song. Once again, they use the weird voice, which I'm not a fan of, but during the screaming, the singer really shows off his talent. Some fast and nice guitar work in this song; after a while though, you might get sick of it.
7. The Jester Race:
Another one of the best songs on the album. Using some delay and clean guitars at the beginning creates a kind of creepy riff. It then goes into the verse, and let me say that the lyrics in this song are the best I've ever heard. Once again deals with mankind, how it's failing, etc.. though they're pretty open to interpretation. The guitar melody during the chorus, along with the singer screaming "And we go.." creates a truly epic feel. Followed by a great solo, and ends with the repetition of two of the verses, which ends the song nicely.
8. December Flower:
Another great song. Although I don't feel that the riffs and verse and chorus in this song are truly that great, the solo more than makes up for it, and it is easily one of In Flames's best solos. Crazy *** stuff.
9. Wayfarer (Instrumental):
The second instrumental is better than the first, though fails in comparison to the ones on the later CDs Whoracle and Colony. It still starts off amazingly with a range of melodic riffs and keyboards. Somewhere after the first keyboard solo I think it kind of loses it, but is then redeemed at the ending.
10. Dead God in Me:
This song starts off with a kickass riff which is another one of those that you have to learn when you hear it. It has a great range of melodic and emotional riffs which are great, and the vocals fit very nicely on this song. It also has a great bridge and solo.
Black Ash Inheritance is a short EP that is included on the Jester Race now, so I'll review it too as part of Jester Race.
Goliaths Disarm their Davids:
Once again, amazing song. Starts off with some really weird synthesisers mixed with clean guitars and goes into a melodic verse followed by a melodic chorus, followed by a great solo. One of the best on the album.
Gyroscope: Although it starts out promisingly with some nice acoustic and some good riffs, it loses it around the verse. It is also way too long. The verse and chorus are easy to get bored of.
Acoustic Medley (Instrumental): ****ing amazing. This is an acoustic rendition of several songs, including Artifacts of the Black Rain, Jotun from Whoracle and Resin from Colony. Can be listened to over and over again without you ever getting tired of it. The best instrumental on the CD by far, and their second to best of all time.
Behind Space (Live):
This is a better rendition of the song that appears on Lunar Strain. The song sounds more complete than it did on Lunar Strain, though keeping that little acoustic riff at the end would have been nice. Anyway, this song is 100% pure melody. With some kickass evil sounding riffs and an even more kickass solo, mixed with screams, this is an amazing song.
In total, In Flames's best album and one you'll want to get if you're a fan of the genre.