In Flames
Whoracle


5.0
classic

Review

by Jacquibim CONTRIBUTOR (58 Reviews)
February 1st, 2013 | 51 replies


Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist


Everybody with an appreciable interest in extreme music has that one band and perhaps one album that served as the gateway to what would, perhaps, become an obsession. One doesn’t simply dive straight into Immolation, Cryptopsy and Demilich without first sampling the lighter, more accessible treats that the world of extreme music has to offer. More often than not, an unrelenting curiosity for all things fast and heavy will begin with a passing interest in a fusion genre, a delicate mix of accessibility and extreme influences, not too extreme to scare somebody off at first glance and not too accessible to bore one to death.

In Flames being one these bands, were ultimately the path-forgers for my seemingly never ending personal journey into the murky depths of death metal. Come Clarity was my first In Flames record, and though it’s as far removed from death metal as possible, it helped desensitise me to the extremities of the parent genre. Had it not been for me randomly picking up said CD for a ridiculous $21.99 at HB Hi-Fi, I almost certainly wouldn’t be writing this review right now. I will always have an affection for Come Clarity as a result, but it’s Whoracle that will forever remain the most pivotal record for me in terms of how it shaped my taste in music, and why it reserves a special place in my CD collection after all these years.

Although cited as a “melodic death metal” album, you’d be hard pressed to really tag this as “death metal” of any sort. Sure, the influences are there, in the vocals and in the riffs – you can hear elements of something a little more menacing. But mostly lacking the intricate harmonies of The Jester Race and lacking the aggression of Colony, Whoracle’s simpler formula sandwiches it between two seemingly more purposeful albums. Critically, Whoracle has an advantage in that it’s far more accessible than either of the aforementioned. Although The Jester Race rules the roost in terms of absolute quality and Colony is closer to its roots, the two can be quite overwhelming for beginners. Their non-stop barrage of riffs would have reduced a younger, uninitiated me to a zombie by the time “Lord Hypnos” or “Clayman” came along respectively. Whoracle never seemed to suffer from this issue, which is why it serves as such an appropriate stepping stone into the very bands and albums that influenced it.

The opening riff of “Jotun” is an excellent display of flashy and melodic riffing, arguably the best introduction to any In Flames record. The song wouldn’t feel out of place on The Jester Race or Colony, as it’s the more akin to a typical melodeath song than any the tracks that follow it. From this point on, Whoracle becomes a little more formulaic. “Gyroscope” features the best balance of melody, aggression and simplicity on the album, built around one of the most infectious riffs In Flames have ever written, as guitar lines weave through and between each other in a way that can only be described as breathtaking. The highlight of Whoracle comes right in the middle in the form of “Jester Script Transfigured”. Beginning with an acoustic intro not unlike the one on “Moonshield”, it’s complimented by the melancholy spoken words of Anders Friden, before diving into a powerful riff consisting of a gorgeous rise and fall. The song features a myriad of acoustic breaks as well - adding to the splendour of the main riff and giving the song a fantastic dynamic.

However, while containing some of In Flames’ best and most instantly recognisable material, Whoracle isn’t exactly flawless. “Morphing Into Primal” is dubbed as “filler” - even though it plays a key role in providing a transition from the melody soaked “Jester Script” and the synth infused “Worlds Within The Margin” - it’s undeniable that at least in relation to rest of the release, it’s a poor track. The production is also not a clean as that of The Jester Race, while “Jotun”, “Gyroscope” and “Jester Script” overcome this by featuring a lot of high-register riffs and leads, other tracks such as “Everything Counts” can sometimes have their riffs compromised by a particularly invasive snare tone and some odd vocal layering. So why exactly is Whoracle a classic? It’s fair to say to say that nobody can really deliver an impersonal, hyperbole-free explanation as to why something should be held in awe despite its flaws.

But as explained earlier, everybody has an album that they would consider pivotal in terms of their musical development – it could be something as universally acclaimed as Symbolic or Rust in Peace, or something deplorable like The Cleansing. What separates a classic from something merely nostalgic is simple – the quality is everlasting. This is why Whoracle and not Come Clarity retains its spot as “most pivotal” for me, because Whoracle blends accessibility and extremity with a sense of authenticity, while the latter was uses said factors as a gimmick. Even after years of repeat spins, Whoracle still sounds fresh, because it’s a no nonsense example of how to make an original piece of art composed of diametrically opposed influences and make it work, accessible but still completely inimitable.

Classic



Recent reviews by this author
Swallowed LunarterialReverorum Ib Malacht De Mysteriis Dom Christi
Decapitated Blood MantraBolzer Soma
Opeth Pale CommunionFallujah The Flesh Prevails
user ratings (1612)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Aaron CONTRIBUTOR (4)
    In Flames' second best album is oh so beautiful......

    johnny of the Well (4.5)
    In Flames destroy their hypothetical world within Whoracle, whilst impacting greatly on th...

    Darkvoid67 (4.5)
    The best melodic death metal album of 1997, Whoracle is nothing but pure, unadulterated me...

    Locrian (4.5)
    With their third album, In Flames have produced a guitar masterpiece, featuring some of th...

  • Dethtrasher (3.5)
    A heavy, melodic and aggressive In Flames album. Whoracle still makes you to think if the ...

    Thomas Michael Morris (4)
    ...

    wikuk (4.5)
    In Flames second release was not only important as a succesor of the genre, on it's own it...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
February 1st 2013


14823 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Jacq's Whoracle Review 2.0: Fanboy as Ever.

Digging: Off Minor - The Heat Death of the Universe

FrozenVain
February 1st 2013


2448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You whore. Nah, just kid'. Great review, pos.

W...what? The Cleansing...deplorable? That's it! neg

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
February 1st 2013


14823 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm sorry, I didn't mean it D:

EvoHavok
February 1st 2013


1450 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Excellent review :D.

Digging: At the Gates - At War with Reality

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
February 1st 2013


14823 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Do it, for old In Flames m/

MO
February 1st 2013


18895 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

rules

ViperAces
February 1st 2013


12481 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

maybe i should re-listen, been digging in flames a lot today

Keyblade
February 1st 2013


15069 Comments


don't dig this as much as TJR or Colony. don't know what i'd rate this. pos tho, great review.

Digging: Submotion Orchestra - Alium

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
February 1st 2013


3471 Comments


holy this is long

Good review though, have a pos. If you'd like more specific feedback let me know.

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
February 1st 2013


14823 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks, and I'm all ears.

hongjinho
February 1st 2013


8 Comments


Jester Race > Subterranean > This > Colony

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
February 1st 2013


3471 Comments


Here we go then:

Everybody with an appreciable interest in extreme music


Doesn't really make that much sense and/or sounds kinda elitist.

One doesn’t simply dive straight into your Immolations, Cryptopsys and Demilichs

"your" is unnecessary

not to accessible

"too"

In Flames being one these bands, were ultimately the path-forgers for my seemingly never ending personal journey into the murky depths of death metal.

Few things wrong here: 1. "In Flames being one these bands" is not a good start to a sentence. 2. "seemingly never ending" is absolutely unnecessary. 3. "ultimately" is unnecessary.

actually, no I definitely

"no, actually, I definitely"

But lacking the intricate melodies of The Jester Race and lacking the aggression of Colony, Whoracle’s simpler formula sandwiches it between two seemingly more purposeful albums, but critically, Whoracle has an advantage in that it’s far more accessible than either of the aforementioned.

Run-on, could use some retooling

Their non-stop barrage of melodies would have reduced an uninitiated 13 year old me to a zombie by the time “Lord Hypnos” or Clayman’s title track came along respectively, and yet Whoracle never suffered from this issue.

1. "reduced 13 year old me to a zombie" isn't really a good comparison. I'd go with something else.
2. Still kind of a run-on sentence, I'd fix some of the stuff there

You could probably shorten the fourth paragraph some. It's not your job to go so in-depth about the songs themselves, it's your job to talk about how they fit into the album. I'd cut it by about half if I were you, otherwise the review becomes too long.

Whoracle is far from flawless.

I'd say this less harshly since you're giving the album a 5. It's got a perfect score, it'd better be pretty damn close to flawless.



Brostep
Staff Reviewer
February 1st 2013


3471 Comments


“Morphing Into Primal” is sometimes dubbed as “filler”

I don't care if it's "sometimes dubbed" something - is it or isn't it? That's your job to say, it doesn't really matter what others think.

So it’s established indefinitely that Whoracle is not a textbook record, so why exactly is it a classic? It’s a bold but accurate assertion to say that nobody can really deliver a hyperbole-free, unbiased explanation as to why something should be held in awe despite its flaws.

1. Rhetorical questions are usually a bad idea.
2. The second sentence here feels awkward, but I don't really know why. Maybe it's because there are too many adjectives in there.

You don't need to divide the conclusion into two paragraphs. If you feel it's necessary, then your review is too long. No one wants to read a really long review, and being concise is usually a good thing here.

Overall really good job. You ramble a bit here and there and your grammar isn't perfect, but you did good work here.

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
February 1st 2013


14823 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks, I'll fix up some of that stuff later on, and try to avoid it in future reviews.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
February 1st 2013


19959 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice job jacquibim. Whoracle rules

Digging: The Smith Street Band - Throw Me In The River

CaptainDooRight
February 1st 2013


30037 Comments


tjr>

but Pos'd, review is a monster

Digging: Fleurety - Min Tid Skal Komme

jmnewcomer18
February 1st 2013


3408 Comments


Great review man

ViperAces
February 1st 2013


12481 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

have you already reviewed this? or am i confusing you with another pony?

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
February 1st 2013


14823 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I didn't like my first one so I rewrote it and had the mods delete my old one, it was my worst review by a mile.

OmairSh
February 26th 2014


11612 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

FOOD FOR THE GODS!

Digging: Edge of Sanity - The Spectral Sorrows



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy