In Flames
Subterranean


3.5
great

Review

by rasputin USER (196 Reviews)
November 9th, 2007 | 103 replies | 21,060 views


Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An enjoyable EP that is a window into the past of one of the biggest melodic death bands, In Flames.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

I’ve long had a love affair with In Flames, especially with their earlier stuff. However, the only thing I’ve enjoyed after The Jester Race has been Colony. This was probably because the band changed the direction they were going, and this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I would have preferred them to retain the sound they had. I am also not a huge fan of Anders Fridén. He did well on The Jester Race and Whoracle, but I generally don’t like his vocals on later albums. Anyway, now we’ve got where I stand out of the way, we can concentrate on the EP.

Subterranean was released during a period of In Flames’ history in which they had not yet discovered their permanent line-up. The album that preceded this, Lunar Strain, featured Mikael Stanne on vocals (as well as other members, but they are not as important). He is now the lead singer of Dark Tranquillity, and in my opinion a much better vocalist than Anders Fridén. Subterranean also has a session vocalist, Henke Forss. I’m unaware of the circumstances surrounding his vocals on the album, whether he was a candidate for being a permanent vocalist or if he just came aboard for the EP alone. Either way it does not affect the review all too much because his vocals are not so different from Stanne’s. When I first listened to Subterranean, I actually thought it was Stanne on vocals until I found out it wasn’t. His vocal style is similar, but after listening to it more, I concluded that he wasn’t as good as Stanne. Nonetheless, Forss is a decent vocalist, and has the right sound to fit the type of melodic metal In Flames were playing at the time. The EP is also a testament to how line-up changes will affect the sound of the band.

Generally, the EP sounds quite similar to the album before it. I don’t generally care much for EPs unless they are extraordinarily good, or in the case of The Red Paintings, are the only release the band has (I think they have 6 EPs and no album yet, I’m not exactly sure). Anyway, the EP itself is structured very much like Lunar Strain, even including a short, acoustic instrumental. However, the other 4 songs are all decent, but nothing special. This is the biggest flaw of the EP, there isn’t anything on it that is really worth going after.

The album starts of with probably my favourite track on the album, Stand Ablaze. There is a nice piano introduction before we’re thrown in with the dual guitar melodies. As I said before, there isn’t anything amazing or technical on this album, and most melodies sound similar to melodies on similar albums. This however is easily overlooked if you have a taste for this type of music. Anyone who enjoys early In Flames, early Dark Tranquillity, and the first two Opeth albums, will easily enjoy listening to Subterranean. All four main songs are built around intricate melodies and acoustic intervals, basically the same as the first 3 In Flames albums. However, as there isn’t anything just brilliant on this EP, I find myself not listening to it as much as I listen to albums with a similar sound. Stand Ablaze is a good song though, and I listen to it a lot more often than I listen to any of the other songs. I do not feel it necessary to really go into the other songs; they’re all basically very similar to Stand Ablaze.

It has also been brought to my attention that there is a new edition of this EP (re-released with Lunar Strain?), which contains new songs, or actually different forms of songs from other albums, but I haven’t listened to them so I can’t comment on them. I believe there is also an Iron Maiden cover (Murders in the Rue Morgue), and a Metallica (Eye of the Beholder). I suppose this extends the length of the EP by quite a bit, so probably makes it a lot more purchasable. That said, the EP in its original form does have a few good songs, but most listeners will lose interest after a while.

Subterranean is a decent release, and anyone who loves In Flames or earlier Dark Tranquillity and Opeth will enjoy it. As a release by itself though, it’s not really that brilliant and I can’t really recommend it to anybody to doesn’t like the aforementioned bands. If you’re looking to get into In Flames, you’d be much better off getting an LP. Still, a reasonable EP, and a part of the band’s history that I yearn for.

Pros:
- Every song is good.
- There are very nice melodies.
- Shows how different members can change the way a band sounds

Cons:
- Gets boring after a few listens
- Production isn’t that great.
- It’s very exclusive in its target audience.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
BallsToTheWall
November 9th 2007



44164 Comments


Good review and this has some cool artwork. Haven't heard anything off this but I should.

Serpento
November 9th 2007



2351 Comments


Nice job. A friend of mine goes on and on about this and Come Clarity, and the latter was pretty good.

masscows
November 9th 2007



2236 Comments


Come Clarity kinda sucks brah

Good review

rasputin
November 9th 2007



14538 Comments


yeah I was just about to say that too, Come Clarity is not the way to go with In Flames. I'd suggest all their earlier stuff, especially in regards to this EP. ie.
Lunar Strain
Whoracle
The Jester RaceThis Message Edited On 11.09.07

rasputin
November 9th 2007



14538 Comments


PS: On the re-read, I noticed I use the word 'however' very often. Something I'll have to work on, it's becoming a habit :S

masscows
November 9th 2007



2236 Comments


Yeah, I have some words that I overuse like "thus" and I tend to use punctuation where it isn't necessary.

Kage
November 9th 2007



1173 Comments


I hate this album.

rasputin
November 9th 2007



14538 Comments


because...?

Jim
November 10th 2007



5110 Comments


nice review. if you're afraid of saying however, substitute it with 'un/fortunately', 'but' or even 'then again'.
also
[quote=summary]A enjoyable EP...[/quote]
*An

rasputin
November 10th 2007



14538 Comments


cheers mate.

Altmer
November 10th 2007



5652 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Boring. In fact, most of In Flames is boring.

Wizard
November 10th 2007



19328 Comments


Cons:
- Gets boring after a few listens
- Production isn’t that great.
- It’s very exclusive in its target audience.

The last point on your cons is not necessarily a bad thing. The best music out there is the stuff that doesn't appeal to the listener right away IMO. Other than that, an overall good description of this album. I bought Lunar Strain with this EP as a bonus to the album, and these songs were kind of boring.

Digging: YOB - Clearing The Path To Ascend

rasputin
November 11th 2007



14538 Comments


yeah that's true, but I was trying to refer to the fact that a lot of people who listen to metal don't really like the early melodic metal sound, which Subterannean is made of. But good point. It is a bit boring, but if you get it together with Lunar Strain, that's a pretty good pack.

Yazz_Flute
April 3rd 2008



18770 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wow, this is an amazing ep.

Digging: The Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

rasputin
April 5th 2008



14538 Comments


yeah it's pretty decent

fireaboveicebelow
September 27th 2008



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

title track is beautiful

rasputin
September 27th 2008



14538 Comments


geez, everyone's bringing up my old reviews :P
I really like Stand Ablaze.

fireaboveicebelow
September 27th 2008



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I really like the girl in your avatar

rasputin
September 27th 2008



14538 Comments


Dolores O'Riordan.

fireaboveicebelow
September 27th 2008



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I knows, I just bought Are You Listening the other day for 5 bucks



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