Review Summary: An enjoyable EP that is a window into the past of one of the biggest melodic death bands, In Flames.
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
, 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.
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.
is a decent release, and anyone who loves In Flames
or earlier Dark Tranquillity
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.
- Every song is good.
- There are very nice melodies.
- Shows how different members can change the way a band sounds
- Gets boring after a few listens
- Production isn’t that great.
- It’s very exclusive in its target audience.