In Flames - _The Jester Race_
(Wrong Again, 1996)
by: Brian Meloon (8 out of 10)
This is a bit of a disappointment to me. After their fine _Subterranean_ EP from last year (see review in CoC #8), I was expecting this to be one of the best albums of the year. Unfortunately, this album doesn't really live up to the potential that they showed with the first two tracks of _Subterranean_. This album as a whole reminds me of Dark Tranquility, although there are sections which sound a lot like Iron Maiden, At the Gates' _SotS_ (see CoC #4), a lighter Amorphis (_Tales_ era, as they did in the last two tracks of _Subterranean_) and even in one part, Van Halen (ack). "Moonshield", which has appeared on a compilation CD, is indicative of what the album sounds like, but isn't one of the better songs. There are a number of folky acoustic sections, and a couple of instrumentals, one a short space filler which is very good, and the other a full instrumental, which is not as good. The death metal sections are lighter than on _Lunar Strain_ (similar to _Subterranean_), but they mostly avoid the sing-songy quality that really hurt parts of their EP. Their new singer and new drummer don't really add any surprises (other than the fact that the drummer also plays guitar), but fill their roles adequately. The production is good, and the performances are solid, but the writing lacks the energy and flair that I was hoping for. Still, this is a very solid album, and worth checking out.

(article published 17/7/1996)

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