In Flames
Whoracle


4.5
superb

Review

by Darkvoid67 USER (31 Reviews)
December 27th, 2010 | 39 replies


Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The best melodic death metal album of 1997, Whoracle is nothing but pure, unadulterated metal pleasure

Back in 1995 when the “big three” of Gothenburg released three of the most influential melodic death metal albums in the history of the genre, In Flames’ first effort, “The Jester Race” was probably the worst of the three, lacking the bite of “Slaughter of the Soul” and the crushing vocals of Mikael Stanne in “The Gallery”. Fast-forward two years and the story could not be much more different. At the Gates were finished (for now) and Dark Tranquillity released “The Minds I” which not only failed to live up to the hype the band had created for themselves with “The Gallery”, but was simply a boring, disjointed affair which made it seem like the group had peaked too early in their career. Enter In Flames, who took the basic recipe they had started brewing with “The Jester Race”, improved the vocals of Anders Friden considerably, emphasised the lead guitars even more and produced their finest album to date.

When one looks at In Flames now, they see a sorry mess of a band who took precisely the wrong route of evolution and ended up towards the bottom of the pile. But if you listen to this album, one simply cannot work out how. Anders Friden, who is a truly marmite affair is for once the albums selling point. On “The Jester Race” Friden sounded like an old man chasing away the children pinching apples from his tree, his guttural growl fading away and sounding tired in many of the albums faster parts. Not so here. Friden settles in comfortably with the rest of the band, his growls on opener “Jotun” being some of the strongest of his career, accompanied by menacing spoken parts that establish the song as being a true In Flames classic. The instrumentation is also particularly strong here, guitarists Jesper Stromblad and Glenn Ljungstrom churning out a fantastic lead that twists and turns throughout the songs run time, and provides some cracking harmonies that are the bands best to date. Bjorn Gelotte, then drummer and Johan Larsson on bass also hand in competent performances in the rhythm section that establish the pace of the album and are also much improved from the predecessor, but nothing to get excited about.

In the genre of melodic death metal, you will be hard pressed to find a more melodic album than this. Everywhere you seem to turn, the harmonizing guitars of Stromblad and Ljungstrom fill the ears and even venture into folk and tribal territory, which is refreshing to hear considering In Flames never really touched upon the genre again. The title track fuses the two together to produce a fantastic, rhythm driven instrumental while the break in “Dialogue with the Stars” manages to add another dimension to another stand-out track.


Just one or two niggles manage to reduce the end result from being a truly classic effort from everyone’s favourite love ‘em-hate ‘em band. While Friden’s vocal efforts are considerably improved from “The Jester Race”, especially in the growl department one has to wonder why his poorly executed clean vocals are even present. Unlike the opener, “Jester Script Transfigured” contains Friden doing some dreaded crooning which does absolutely nothing for the listener. Neither does the frantic nature he goes about vocal duties in “Morphing into Primal”. Furthermore, it is fair to say that Bjorn Gelotte is a far superior guitarist than he is drummer. It provides a steady beat that adds one or two intricacies to “The Jester Race” formula, but don’t expect any frantic fills or furious blast beats like his replacement Daniel Svensson.

“Whoracle” is not only In Flames’ finest effort to date. It is, put simply one of the finest entries in the genre. The lead guitars provide a distinctive tone that refines the formula of “The Jester Race”, Anders Friden hands in a far superior effort that suits his vocal style considerably more than any of the bands other efforts, and the rhythm section for the most part provides a solid base for every song to construct upon. Ignore at your peril, for “Whoracle” is one of the most enjoyable entries into a genre nowadays cluttered with mediocrity.



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user ratings (1611)
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Darkvoid67
December 27th 2010


383 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Firstly, I hope all Sputnikers had a great christmas. I certainely did listening to this gem. Secondly, I still need to hit a flow with my reviewing, so any mistakes and improvements please let me know

Josh D.
December 27th 2010


13968 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"World's Within the Margin" rules.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
December 27th 2010


16440 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Jester Script Transfigured" is In Flames' best song.

Digging: Swallowed - Lunarterial

Defeater
December 27th 2010


5782 Comments


I like both The Jester Race and Clayman better than this album.

Good review.

Darkvoid67
December 27th 2010


383 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Instrumentally, I agree "Jester Script Transfigured" rules, but Friden gets right up my trumpet with his crooning on it

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
December 27th 2010


16440 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The riffs are just head and shoulders above anything else they've done.

Dreamflight
December 27th 2010


1760 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

World's Within the Margin" rules. (2)

The keyboard parts are fuckin epic

This is prolly my fav In Flames album.


Hawks
December 27th 2010


35838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is definitely the best this band has to offer and they're definitely the weakest out of the so-called big three. Nice review man.

Darkvoid67
December 27th 2010


383 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

^ agreed. In my opinion, all three still rule (In Flames fanboyism shining through)

Inveigh
December 27th 2010


25025 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The Hive and Gyroscope are my favorites here, but yeah Worlds Within the Margin is pretty cool. Definitely my favorite from In Flames.

I'm not huge on Jester Script Transfigured, but I also fail to recognize it as "crooning." Seems like more spoken word from what I remember, but it's probably been 5 years since I've listened to it.

myhigherpie
December 27th 2010


3027 Comments


All three bands have significantly grown off of me recently

I find gothenburg metal very sterile now.

Hawks
December 27th 2010


35838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I still love Dark Tranquillity. I haven't listened to In Flames or At the Gates in ages though.

Dreamflight
December 27th 2010


1760 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The last Dark Tranquillity was really a let down to me, it sounds like Fiction's b-sides.

pmmets07
December 27th 2010


5900 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Jester Script Transfigured" is In Flames' best song. [2]

Gmork89
December 27th 2010


5516 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It might be number 2, a few songs on TJR beat it.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
December 27th 2010


16440 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The last Dark Tranquillity was really a let down to me, it sounds like Fiction's b-sides.


I'd take DT's new album over anything In Flames has released since Colony. And I didn't like DT's new one that much.

Darkvoid67
December 27th 2010


383 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

^nah they don't. I never really loved TJR, but I really like this.

Hawks
December 27th 2010


35838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I still haven't heard the new DT.

Dreamflight
December 27th 2010


1760 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"I'd take DT's new album over anything In Flames has released since Colony. And I didn't like DT's new one that much"

In Flames song stractures are too poppy nowdays and get really boring after a while, that's their main problem. You can almost predict what the song will be in the first 10 seconds.

Darkvoid67
December 27th 2010


383 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

^I'm not so sure. Come Clarity had one or two nice surprises, but yeah new In Flames in general sucks. I'd also take new DT over In Flames, but since Clayman. That record still kicks some ass at least



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