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In Flames: Lunar Strain/Subterranean (reissue)

Before In Flames released their groundbreaking The Jester Race in 1996, the band had two prior recordings, one that featured future Dark Tranquility vocalist Mikael Stanne , Lunar Strain and Subterranean. Ironically enough, Dark Tranquility's singer at that time was Anders Friden, who later became the singer for In Flames for The Jester Race album. I guess you could say the two Swedish melodic death metal bands did a "singer swap" of sorts, and the rest is history. Candlelight and Regain Records have taken this opportunity to reissue these two important albums in In Flame's history, both completely remastered and sounding better than ever.

You can instantly tell the difference in the band on Lunar Strain due to Stanne's vocals, which are much more in the black metal style than Friden, as well as the inclusion of additional acoustic elements and instruments such as violin, used very well on a song like "Starforsaken". Hearing the classic "Behind Space" in its original rampaging form is a great treat, and the instrumental "Dreamscape" is a perfect example of dual lead guitar death meal with a touch of Iron Maiden harmonies. Stanne's lethal gargles permeate the doomy "Everlost (part I)" , while "Everlost (part II) is a gorgeous acoustic driven number with angelic female vocals. Violin and cello duel on the classical instrumental "Hargalaten", and the band pay homage to Black Sabbath on the riff monster "In Flames". Included on this CD are a few demo and unreleashed tracks, perfect additions for the In Flames collector.

Substerranean saw the departure of Stanne and the addition of singer Henke Forss, who only stayed in the band for this album before being replaced by Friden. This is basically an EP, fleshed out by some fine bonus material, and the band seems more sure of themselves and less raw than on Lunar Strain. The vocals of Forss are sort of a combination of the gravelly and gruff styles of both Stanne and Friden, and work well with these highly melodic guitar driven numbers. Lightning quick harmony lines and gorgeous acoustic work mesh seamlessly with each other on "Everdying", and the band combines crushing classic metal with power metal on the intricate & bombastic title track. Classy and complex melodic death of the highest degree can be heard on the raging "Biosphere", one of the best examples of the Swedish metal scene as it sounded in the early-mid 90's, and includes some of the tastiest dual lead guitar around.

Your best bet is to gobble these two rascals up before they are once again gone and out of print. Truly essential recordings of the early Swedish melodic death metal genre.

Track Listing
Lunar Strain

  1. Behind Space
  2. Lunar Strain
  3. Starforsaken
  4. Dreamscape
  5. Everlost (Part I)
  6. Everlost (Part II)
  7. Hargalaten
  8. In Flames
  9. Upon An Oaken Throne
  10. Clad In Shadows
  11. In Flames (demo version)
  12. Upon An Oaken Throne (demo version)
  13. Acoustic Piece (unreleased)
  14. Clad in Shadows (demo version)

    1. Stand Ablaze
    2. Ever Dying
    3. Subterranean
    4. Timeless
    5. Biosphere
    6. Dead Eternity (feat. Jocke Gothberg)
    7. The Unborn (feat. Jocke Gothberg)
    8. Eye of the Beholder (Metallica cover)
    9. Murders in the Rue Morgue (Iron Maiden cover)

Added: June 27th 2005
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Official In Flames Website
Hits: 3818
Language: english

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