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Agony and Aggression - 100%

Razakel, September 30th, 2008

In Flames really knew how to create perfection back in the golden days of melodic death metal. Whoracle is their third full length and follow up to The Jester Race, their previous masterpiece. Here we are shown a more angry, aggressive approach to the sound, still containing excellent and appropriately used melody.

Whoracle is a concept album based on humanity becoming increasingly advanced until we bring upon our own doom as a result of ignorance and misused power. These apocalyptic themes are present in all songs, some more than others (Jotun, Episode 666) and give the album tremendous focus. Focus within the sound of the music is something In Flames are generally consistent in yet excelled in the area on early releases. On Whoracle, it is achieved by a varying sound. Acoustic guitars are used to great effect and the riffs are some of their best. Specifically, the acoustic interlude in The Jester Script Transfigured is atmosphere within itself. It carries a mood of solitude yet hope and remembrance. This leads into a massive crushing wall of riff from Jesper and Bjorn and desperate shrieks of agony from Anders. More diversity in the music includes the layered clean vocals in the chorus of Gyroscope, the violently fast paced Morphing Into Primal, and the slow yet crushing Worlds Within The Margin.

The riffs are similar to those off of The Jester Race - amazing. The cleaner production gives an entirely different mood to them though. This becomes immediately evident on the unforgettable opener, Jotun. Song writing has become more focussed within the guitars, perhaps best displayed on the instrumental Dialogue With The Stars. Anders gives one of his best performances on Whoracle. The way he spews utter emotion and anguish into every growl makes for an incredibly memorable presentation. The lyrics are simply the best the band has produced and some of the best I have come across. Each song is built up of remarkable poetry about human weakness and failure.

If people don’t like this album it must be because they don’t like the genre in general because coming from a fan of melodic death metal, this is top of the class. In Flames certainly don’t make music like this anymore, no one does. It’s hard to find good melodeath these days, most bands carry metalcore influences or turn shitty after one album. But when you have classics like these to fall back on, why would you need anything else?