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With the recent departure of the last original member of In Flames Jesper, and the life blood of the machine that is my favorite melodic death metal band, I had to take the time to re-listen to all of Jesper’s best works, and this one, every time I listen to it, stands ablaze above all the others. The talent that lies in these players never ceases to amaze me and every time I begin this album once more with Jesper’s piano melody in the first half minute I have to let it play all the way through, I just can’t seem to let this album go unfinished.
The thing that really gets me into this album is the incredible musicianship by these performers, not only strictly Jesper, but each person. The session drummers that In Flames had on this album both provide a unique and different taste to the drums in each track. Whether it’s the steady and solid, but still very interesting and catchy beats of Anders Jivarp, or it’s the incredible talent of Daniel Erlandsson wailing away on the double bass but still keeping a very interesting group of hits on the snare and cymbals going through the whole song. It was a very smart move and as I said before adds a lot of flavor to this EP. Next are the vocals. These are just incredible; they really compliment the almost melodic black metal feel of this album, and Henke really puts a lot into it to make them as good as he did on this album. His shrieks are menacing and his growls are deep and cutthroat, I really wished they kept him around for a few more albums, because I really enjoy the type of vocals that he brought. And here comes Johan, the bassist, and holy crap you can hear him! He really doesn’t falter when he is playing and he does an excellent job on holding up the low end of this album and keeping it as heavy as ever. Plus he also keeps the main counter melody going when Jesper and Glenn are harmonizing on those amazing riffs together. Which leads me to my next point, I have always loved the guitar team of Jesper and Glenn, and they are able to compliment each other so well that every harmony sounds perfect and so well played and built up that it’s sad that they are not playing together any more. The melodic riff in Stand Ablaze is a perfect example of this when they are harmonizing while tremolo picking and string skipping in some instances, they were just made to play together and this EP is the prime example of them at their best.
This album is a must have for any In Flames fan, for in my opinion, it their best album, each song flows into each other, from Stand Ablaze to the extremely catchy main melody of Biosphere, this album bleeds melodic death and black metal. It is a must have for any In Flames collection and if you can find the re-release that contains the demos of Dead Eternity and The Inborn Lifeless, it is even a better album and one that you will want to listen to over and over again. In fact, if you are a musician like me, you may even start playing these amazing bass lines or guitar riffs, and these will greatly influence and especially, will improve your playing and are just loads of fun to play, plain and simple