In Flames - Whoracle
Rating - 4/5
By Greg Northrup
The task of following up the excellent Jester Race had be a formidable one for In Flames, but they more than lived up to the challenge. Although not exactly reaching the lofty plateau that The Jester Race managed to reach, Whoracle, their latest album, comes terrifyingly close. "Jotun" and "Episode 666" are right up there as some of the best In Flames tracks ever. "Dialogue With The Stars" is the best instrumental track they have recorded.
Every song on the record is solid and satisfyingly heavy. Their refusal to compromise with 'clean' vocals and keyboards, like so many of their peers (Amorphis, Tiamat, etc.), is commendable and has contributed nicely to their consistently awesome output. Although Whoracle does feature a little keyboard on "Worlds Within The Margin", it is isolated an adds nicely to the song anyway.
One difference between this album and The Jester Race is that, contrary to reports of the album being more direct, the songs are not as immediately addictive. Whoracle demands a little more attention and in-depth listening in order to fully grasp it. This is perfectly acceptable, but after such in-depth probing, one begins to see the problems with the album. The first problem is that In Flames has failed to break any new ground, as they did with The Jester Race, and chooses instead to play-it-safe and write along the lines of its past success. The album attains but does not surpass the impact of the previous one, as it should.
Nitpicking aside, Whoracle a solid recording, worthy of repeated listenings, just not quite as good as The Jester Race.