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Perfection! This should have been a full album! - 100%

The_Wanderer, January 26th, 2006

Subterranean, in my opinion, is the best In Flames release by far. Problem is, it's just an EP! So what makes it so great? Well, it has the dark and brooding mood of Lunar Strain, but there are some major improvements on this release over Lunar Strain. Although I miss Mikael Stanne's vocals, Henke Forss is very good on this album and I wish they kept him instead of getting Anders Friden. In addition, the drumming here is much better than on Lunar Strain, done by actual drummers (some tracks Daniel Erlandsson of Arch Enemy, others Anders Jivarp of Dark Tranquullity) rather than Jesper overdubbed. The guitar duo of Jesper Stromblad and Glenn Ljungstrom also show off some of their finest work here, showing that they are actually better without a third guitarist. Plus, overall the transitions on Subterranean are much more flowing and natural than on Lunar Strain, where acoustic guitar and violin could basically pop up anywhere at any time. Now, for a song by song breakdown...

Stand Ablaze opens up the album (EP) perfectly with a beautiful piano intro leading into some classic melodic riffage. This is possibly my favorite In Flames song guitar-wise, with a really nice lengthy guitar passage at the end that is hardly boring, very melodic, and nice and fast. Everdying starts off rather aggressive compared to the other songs on this EP, eventually building up to a beautiful acoustic passage that fits nicely, then continues and ends with a second acoustic part. The title track, Subterranean, is nothing less than my favorite song of all time, containing a lot of different melodies all crammed into one dark, epic love song. Timeless is one of early In Flames' signature acoustic instrumentals, which of course is great, and Biosphere closes the album (EP) nicely with a great building riff in the beginning, to a rather fast majority of the song with faster, more aggressive leads than In Flames would probably ever use again. But, after that track...it sadly ends and leaves you craving more. I would suggrest buying the remaster, which is almost double the length, but the bonus tracks are a bit awkward and not nearly as good as the meat of Subterranean...here's a review for them anyway.

The demo version of the Jester Race classic Dead Eternity features Jocke Gothberg of Marduk on vocals, making this version sound a lot like Dimension Zero, with the Stromblad/Ljungstrom guitar duo and him on vocals. Major differences between this and The Jester Race version are the production and the vocals. The production is more raw because it's a demo, which can be both good and bad depending on what you like in your songs. The vocals are more shrieky and in my opinion a lot better than Friden's attempt at death grunts, but could be annoying to some. Overall I like it better though. The Inborn Lifeless, the demo of the track that would be called Dead God in Me on The Jester Race, has slightly different lyrics, different vocals, and again, rawer production. The vocalist on this one is some guy named Per Gyllenback...and personally I think he's nothing special, but again, better than Friden. Some versions of Subterranean also include bonus covers of Murders in the Rue Morgue (Iron Maiden), and Eye of the Beholder (Metallica). Murders in the Rue Morgue is nothing special, but it's cool if you feel like hearing Iron Maiden with death vocals, although that's been done a million times. Eye of the Beholder is an odd one for In Flames, with a session vocalist named Robert Dahn doing CLEAN vocals, and clean vocals nothing like Anders Friden would ever do. It's a good cover, but really doesn't sound anything like In Flames.

Overall, Subterranean is a fucking godly EP, and the remaster is worth getting for some bonus goodies. Plus, it's easier to find than the original.