Review Summary: Past, Present, and Future.
I was but a young tike when my ears were first graced with a level of purity that I had never experienced before. Coming from an inherited background of rock and hip-hop lovers in my family, death metal was not a style of music I was acquainted with, nor had I had the desire and passion to pursue its offerings. So, back in the days I was in the local porn shop with my girlfriend and friend at the time and this melody that was both heavy and drawing came in with these death-like screams. I was literally staring at some chicks a-ss on the back on this dvd and was “like wtf is that I’m hearing”. I literally had to ask the cashier lady who it was. She was some gothic chick wearing all black with black hair, you know the whole 9, and she was like “what! You’ve never heard of In Flames”. I was like “obvs not if I’m asking”. So basically it all started from there. The clerk lady wrote down the name of the band and later that day I like up the music on the internet and saw how awesome it was and ran to the store to buy a copy.
In Flames’ The Jester Race
was the beginning to a longtime journey of metal that I would embark on down to this day. It opened up a world of enjoyment and passion. Just hearing melodies that were perfectly catchy yet deeply emotional showed and taught me that there is music out there that has the potential to truly move a person’s insides, besides giving them a massive boner. Although In Flames has several albums to choose from I personally believe this is the only album of theirs that captured the essence of their creative abilities as well as providing an atmosphere that is the darkest they will ever achieve. How a band can create music that touches me this much but never achieves it again is besides me. From the first second of The Jester Race
with “Moonshield” we have a nice clean guitar section of welcoming the listener into a world of emotion and passion. You’ll immediately notice that their riffs are never monotonous but controlled fully for the purpose of impressing a feeling of truth. It’s really hard to describe this “truth” I speak of but imagine you had a friend who was giving you their honest opinion of what they thought about you because they knew it meant more than a person who lied to you just to tell you what you wanted to hear. This is the “truth” I’m talking about.
Every track is filled with passion, from the instrumental “The Jester’s Dance” to the tremolo-melodic patterns of “Artifacts of the Black Rain”. There are various styles of melody found on The Jester Race
, melodies that range from aggressive heavier styles like “Graveland” that features some of the fastest tempos to the slower guitar and drums styles of the title track “The Jester Race”. I personally enjoy a balance of the two, a balance of aggression and deep emotive melodies. “Dead Eternity”, “Lord Hypnos”, “December Flower”, “Graveland”, and “Dead God in Me” all hit the perfect balance of melody and aggression. Out of these top 5 tracks I feel that “Dead Eternity” takes the cake. It starts with a technical-fast melodic riff in arpreggiatted fashion that changes little until it drops into a slow bass arpeggio. An equally slow guitar harmony comes while a deep voice speaks out and says “You’ll never be alone again, You’ll never die again, You’ll never be born again, You’ll forever be stuck, in eternity”. From here an intense drum blast beat coupled with a matching tremolo guitar pattern builds up into death-lyric verses. The song is both heavy and progressive and has a well-fitting solo that drops into different root signatures. The song ends with the above mentioned beginning verses. Although this song isn’t the most versatile on the records it does hold a lot of power and meaning for me.
Besides song favorites each song has at least one high point or enjoyable part. This attention to superlative notions really allows The Jester Race
to flow successfully as album from beginning to end. The tracks are spread out evenly so that you’re not hit with all the aggression consecutively, making this a very accessible album for those wishing to look into death metal and melodic death metal. The lyrical values are satisfying as well. Many of the lyrics are metaphorical like the ones found on “Dead God in Me” and “December Flower” but the title track is more literal and really ties in the purpose of The Jester Race
which is to convey the reality of humans future. These though are confirmed with “vanities in extreme formations ride into tomorrow’s rigid futile scripts of our dying jester race”.
My memories with The Jester Race
go far and deep. There have been times when I was taking a shower in my mom’s bathroom playing the title track pretenting I was doing the vocals and guitar work at the same time. Or times when I was depressed and kept playing “Artifacts of the Black Rain” in my car with my eyes closed, blazed out of my mind. Or even times when I was pissed and angry and kept playing “Graveland” over and over. My life’s experiences and emotions are directly intertwined with The Jester Race
, an album that will always be part of my past, present, and future.