IN FLAMES

(SWEDEN)

THE JESTER RACE

(1996)
LABEL:

NUCLEAR BLAST

GENRE:

DEATH METAL

TAGS:
Epic, Growl
""The Jester Race" allows In Flames to find their style, melodic death metal, and can be considered the real start of the band's career."
NOISE (26.12.2008)  
4/5
(0) opinions (0) comment(s)
"The Jester Race" is the second album from Sweden's In Flames, and can be seen as the real kick-off to the band's career. Indeed, "Lunar Strain", released in 1994, had shown an effective and ambitious line-up, but quite different from the one we find here. In the meantime, the band has found its voice, in the person of Anders Friden, who swaps with Mikael Stanne his position as vocalist in Dark Tranquillity, as well as his second guitarist with Bjorn Gelotte. The singer swap was certainly the best thing that ever happened to both bands, as it boosted their respective careers.

This time, the sound lives up to expectations, powerful and very clear. What's more, In Flames' content is both heavier and more melodic, with many of the genre's typical breaks, while retaining the Death Metal aspects of the vocals, which remain aggressive, and the drums, which make frequent use of blast beats. And even if the shadow of At The Gates still looms large, the Swedes assert their identity by blending the heavy influences of guitarist Jesper Strömblad, who composed the bulk of the album, with those of his more Death-oriented bandmates, Bjorn Gelotte and Anders Friden.

"The Jester Race" opens with the unstoppable 'Moonshield', a perfect illustration of the genre, alternating acoustic and melodic passages. In the same vein, the excellent instrumental 'The Jester's Dance' allows In Flames to define a style that will be their strength on many future albums. This excellent start is confirmed on the more powerful 'Artifacts Of The Black Rain', a huge track with guitar harmonies perfectly matched to Anders Friden's vocals and superb solos.

In a more Death Metal vein, the excellent 'Graveland' and 'Lord Hypnos' showcase the drums and more aggressive vocals, while on the latter, Iron Maiden-style guitar harmonies are retained. There's also the eponymous track, which opens with a short acoustic introduction and features more varied, if still guttural, vocals. Finally, we find a new version of 'Dead Eternity', one of the band's earliest tracks, completely reworked and now more melodic with some huge breaks.

"The Jester Race" is a masterstroke for a band ready to take off. The potential is enormous and, despite the great qualities of this opus, it suggests that In Flames will easily manage to do even better in the future. In the meantime, we can't recommend enough that newcomers to melodic death metal get to grips with its roots.
- Official website

TRACK LISTING:
01. Moonshield (05:01)
02. The Jester's Dance (02:09)
03. Artifacts of the Black Rain (03:15)
04. Graveland (02:46)
05. Lord Hypnos (04:01)
06. Dead Eternity (05:01)
07. The Jester Race (04:51)
08. December Flower (04:10)
09. Wayfaerer (04:41)
10. Dead God in Me (04:15)

LINEUP:
Anders Friden: Chant
Björn Gelotte: Guitares / Batterie
Glenn Ljungström: Guitares
Jesper Strömblad: Guitares
Johan Larsson: Basse
   
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