In Flames
The Jester Race


4.5
superb

Review

by Dead_Trench USER (5 Reviews)
November 8th, 2005 | 13 replies | 2,909 views


Release Date: 1995 | Tracklist


1 of 2 thought this review was well written

This is their second album, coming after Lunar Strain, and before Whoracle. It is definatley better than their debut, it feels more thoughout and complete. This may or may not be because of Ander Fridens addition to the band as the lead singer. He replaced Mikael Stanne of Dark Tranquillity. They pretty much traded bands because Anders sung for Dark Tranquillity before joining In Flames. Back to the point, this album helped define a style. Along with a few other bands, most notably At The Gates, they started melodic death metal. Unlike the later albums I don't consider this to be "gothenburg". It's heavier than that.

I'm going to do something different(for me) and not do a track by track. This review is on the Jester Race alone, although Black Ash Inheritance came packaged with it the other review sums up my feelings about the EP. I'm a vocalist and lead guitarist so those are mostly what I can write confidently about.

Vocals - Anders Friden
This is his first album on vocals, replacing Mikael Stanne of Dark Tranquillity, who did vocals only on their debut, Lunar Strain. He is a welcome replacement, and helps define their signature sound. His vocals are growled, although not gutterally like tranditional death metal vocals. Like a higher pitched variation. He lets out a few good screams too(like around the end of the Jester Race). While newer In Flames uses clean vocals quite a bit there are none on this album. And that is a good thing. On the subject of lyrics, they're pretty good. The theme of the album is human corruption and how man is destroying earth. He uses some fancy words, but generally the flow pretty well and are interesting to read while listening. This only matters because his words are audible, so you can actually tell what Anders is saying, if you listen.

Guitars - Jesper Stromblad and Glenn Ljungstrom
The guitars on this album are more balanced than in future albums. By that I mean that the ratio of bone crushing riffs to beautiful melodies is about even. And believe me, these guys are great at melody. From the nice acoustic intro of the opening track, Moonshield , to the upbeat and melodic lead driven instrumental, Wayfaerer, I never get tired of hearing these guys play their catchy lines. The heavy riffs are pretty sweet too. They mostly just compliment the vocals but can also be catchy like the main riff of Dead God In Me. They like harmonizing with each other so while not quite unique, it does make the songs sound more interesting. And finally, the solos. They're pretty good. They don't really resort to pure shred but they keep interesting with some fast runs and their trademark melodies.

Bass - Johann Larsson
As with most metal bands, it's hard to distinguish the bass. The sound of the album is pretty thick and bassy, but to actually tell what the bassist is playing has always been hard for me. So sorry bass lovers, not much to discuss here.

Drums - Bjorn Gelotte
Today he is one of their guitarists but on this album he plays the drums. He does a pretty good job too. He doesn't try to show off or just demonstrate pure speed, he creates a good rhythm for the rest of the band while still remaining interesting. Bjorn likes to use cymbals and toms to make to create a good sound, instead of just wailing away on the snare. He really doesn't just play standard beats much, but on the occassion he does atleast keeps em' tight. He doesn't resort to blastbeats much either, although he pulls them off nicely in the song December Flower. So in short, he's an interesting drummer.

One of the reasons I like this album is because of the variety. Each song has its own identity. Moonshield has great acoustic melodies and great singing, The Jester's Dance has haunting clean guitar, Artifact's Of The Black Rain has a great balance between heavy riffs and melody, The Jester Race has an amazingly catchy chorus, December Flower has that solo, Wayfaerer is upbeat and one of the best instrumentals ever, and Dead God In Me is very high tempo and thrashy. You may have noticed I left out tracks 4-6. While they are damn good, they've just been put in a bad place. They all sound pretty similar so you might ask yourself what track you're on when you listen to this album.

OVERALL: This album is definatley a classic and arguably their best effort. I think it is deserving of a 4.5. It would be a 5 except for a few issues.

Pros
+ Great guitarwork which creates a nice balance between melody and heaviness
+ Intelligent lyrics and catchy songs
+ Good consistency in tracks

Cons
- A slight drag in the middle of the album
- Some of the clean guitar tones are annoying

Recommended songs
Moonshield
Lord Hypnos
Jester Race
Wayfaerer

4.5/5

*Note of interest: on track 4 of Black Ash Inheritance, Behind Space[Live], you can hear one of the guitarists mess up at around 1:45-1:55.


user ratings (1808)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Dead_Trench
November 8th 2005



159 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm pleased with this review.

Jawaharal
November 8th 2005



1832 Comments


ehhh, all you did was desribe the instruments, but its good I guess

Shadows
Moderator
November 8th 2005



2530 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The style was questionable. You described the instruments and musical performances very well, but you did'nt describe the music at all.

As for the album, I hate it. Everyone goes on about how this is IF's best, but it bored the hell out of me. It has nothing on Colony, Clayman, or Whoracle.This Message Edited On 11.09.05

Arrakakaka
November 8th 2005



685 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oheemmghee.

You could have described the music.This Message Edited On 11.08.05

Neoteric
November 9th 2005



3243 Comments


It's basically just a band description.

Dead_Trench
November 9th 2005



159 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm working on adding a little right now. I'll try to describe the music more.

AtTheDriveIn198d
November 9th 2005



158 Comments


which is best out of whoracle, jester race or clayman? in everyones opinion of course.

Shadows
Moderator
November 9th 2005



2530 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'd say Clayman.

Neoteric
November 9th 2005



3243 Comments


Whoracle.

Shattered_Future
November 9th 2005



1540 Comments


Whoracle, by far. It's got the perfect blend of old and newer (not new new) In Flames. Sounds the best.

Good review, but putting more in on the album only helps you.

Shadows
Moderator
November 9th 2005



2530 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

A little better. Honestly, I think it's hard to make it really descriptive with the format you chose, but it's not bad.

I'm listening to the new album right now. Four months in advance.

Dead_Trench
November 9th 2005



159 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Shadows Fallen: Anyone way of sending it my way? Atleast just tell me if it builds upon the style they've used for RTR and STYE or if they've gone a different direction.

Shadows
Moderator
November 9th 2005



2530 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Contact me through AIM or give me your email. It's hard for me to explain because I'm not too acquainted with STYE or RTR, but I've downloaded them because I'm going to review CC very soon.



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