In Flames - _Whoracle_
(Nuclear Blast, 1997)
by: Pedro Azevedo (9 out of 10)
If you're a fan of the brilliant Gothenburg sound, you surely must know In Flames by now. _Whoracle_ is In Flames' new gift to all those who have been captured by this melodic, aggressive, technical, and dynamic style of metal. As any In Flames fan will immediately know (as if he didn't already expect it) after listening to the first minute or so of the brilliant opener "Jotun", _Whoracle_ is another great work. Just like before, In Flames deliver a large set of extremely catchy melodies and riffs that just won't let go of you and team up with very competent rhythmic work and Anders Friden's 'desperate ma non troppo' voice (although it sometimes does get quite desperate, but not as much as some others) -- rated in the Swedish metal vocals range, that is. In relation to their promising debut, _Lunar Strain_, and the great _Subterranean_ EP, _The Jester Race_ (which I like even better than those two) featured many changes, but no radical changes were made this time. The sound and musical style are nearly the same in _TJR_ and _Whoracle_. No complaints here, since, similarly to the newest albums from their country mates Dark Tranquillity and Hypocrisy, there's no need to change greatness, as only small adjustments should be made. Despite both having been recorded and produced at Studio Fredman, _Whoracle_ seems to have a somewhat stronger sound than the excellent _The Jester Race_. Just like what happened in the latest Hypocrisy, _The Final Chapter_, there's one cover song, and, again, it's the weakest track. It's a cover of a Depeche Mode song (no, I'm not confused here; I know this is not my Moonspell _Second Skin_ review), and while the re-worked song itself is reasonably good, the chorus is very poor. A final note about the departure of Johan Larsson (bass) and Glenn Ljungstrom (rhythm guitar): after the recording of _Whoracle_, Niklas Engelin and Peter Iwers will replace them.

(article published 1/1/1998)

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