In Flames - The Jester Race (1996)
©Nuclear Blast


  1. Moonshield (5:01)
  2. The Jester's Dance (2:09)
  3. Artifacts of the Black Rain (3:15)
  4. Graveland (2:46)
  5. Lord Hypnos (4:01)
  6. Dead Eternity (5:01)
  7. The Jester Race (4:51)
  8. December Flower (4:10)
  9. Wayfaerer (4:41)
  10. Dead God In Me (4:15)

As I read the other reviews on this site, I see a whole lot of “Perfection”, “Magnificence”, and in one case “Malevolence” – although I think that was meant to be good. Either way, everyone’s reviewing exactly what their favorite bands are. When I think of reviewers I think of a crazy, cynical, pessimist ranting on what he/she hates most about what they’re reviewing. So unbelievably hopped up on caffeine that you can pretty much imagine them shaking and twitching just by the bile they spew out. Unfortunately I’m going to have to follow the same path as my fellow MetalZine reviewers just to set a bar so without further adieu I present you “The Jester Race” by In Flames, a golden life preserver in a sea of mediocrity and posers. Just to kill all hopes of expecting criticism, I think In Flames are by all means, one of the best bands out there, and their early work was a Godsend (Or Satan depending on where you stand).

For the first part, let’s talk musically. For Anders Fridén’s first album with In Flames, the vocals are a force to be reckoned with. I first fell in love with his growls in 2004 when I put on 'December Flower', and my parents thought that a demon was screaming into the microphone, which of course made me love it more. Also, an experienced metalhead may realize that the growls are somewhat different then most. Take a band like Opeth, I can do a decent copy of them, but Anders Fridén’s are just so unbelievably chaotic that any attempt left me frustrated as well as awed. Instrumentally – well, for those of you who don’t know the band, they, and a few others pioneered Melodic Death Metal, so it is a bit unique in itself. From this one’s perspective; drum, guitar and bass flow greatly together. For percussion, Björn Gelotte performs magnificently, and in some cases, the double pedal reminds me of a machine gun with a never ending stream of bullets being fired. For guitar, the harmonized styles of Jesper Strömblad and Glenn Ljungström will leave you speechless. The bass I can’t really say much about, except that Johan Larsson plays well enough that I have no complaints, which in itself is an accomplishment. The only time you really hear the bass alone is in 'Dead Eternity'.

Lastly I’ll talk lyrics. To me, lyrics have to have a certain factor to them which I like to call the “Open to Interpretation factor”. The lyrics of The Jester Race definitely have that and more. If there was any band I could say is the definition of the O.T.P Factor I would say In Flames and fuck anyone who disagrees. On the odd chance that the planets align and I give scene kids the time of day, they all say the same thing when talking about music: “Emo lyrics are so deep”. That sends me into a blind fucking rage that makes want to slaughter the lot of them. Lyrics aren’t deep if everyone knows exactly what you’re talking about - there’s no mystery to it. It pain’s me to see those conforming little rejects run around raving about the new MCR album. If that’s the type of shit they lock themselves into their closets to write about on there own, by all means, lock yourselves in and throw away the key so we can be rid of this disease. This would be the time that I’d compare lyrics but I don’t listen to that trash, so instead I’ll just give you an example of gods at work. “Rusty gods in their machine-minds armors, grind our souls, in the millstone of time, the "deathbed harvest" is dead man's banquet, of mould ridden bread and black, poisoned wine” taken from the title track “The Jester Race”. Put ten people into a room and ask them what they think it means, I can guarantee you no one will have the same answer.

In conclusion to this Pro In Flames review / Anti – Emo rant, The Jester Race is a fine piece of work. Five stars. 10/10. Two thumbs up, whatever the case may be, it is perfect in this reviewer's eyes, and I find comfort in my own belief that whoever disagrees on the excellence that is In Flames will die an agonizing death and suffer being raped by Demons in the 9th Circle of Hell for all eternity.



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