Sound — 10
In Flames has created a concept album that is a must hear for any heavy metal fan. Starting with 'Jotun' and climaxing at the well known 'Episode 666', Whoracle is an album that delivers intriguing lyrics, mesmerizing guitar riffs, and a stunning overall sound and production. Producer Fredrik Nordstrm (At The Gates, Dark Tranquility) does an amazing job with this album. Every guitar riff is crisp, the drums are vibrant, and the bass holds it all together, along with Anders' vocals soaring above it all with his signature screaming style. Track listing: 01."Jotun" - 3:53: An interesting, yet appropriate way to kick off the album. With no long intro, Jotun's captivating riff hooks you from note one, and hold you there until the very end, then leaves you begging for more. 02."Food for the Gods" - 4:21: Starting with a badass riff with some classic death metal double time drumming, this song, played in 3/4 timing is the perfect blend of melancholy and anger. 03."Gyroscope" - 3:26: The first acoustic work on the album, Gyroscope uses classic In Flames scales and solidifies itself as one of the best on the album. 04."Dialogue With the Stars" - 3:00: A full instrumental with more 3/4 timing that will keep you moving the whole time while you wait for the next part to unfold in this musical story. 05."The Hive" - 4:03: At this point, those who do not quite enjoy Melodic Death Metal as much as In Flames fans might get a bit turned off. As great a song as it may be, the album at this point begins to feel a bit redundant. 06."Jester Script Transfigured" - 5:46: My personal favorite. Another acoustic intro, this beautiful song has heavy->acoustic transfers that just send shivers up my spine. 07."Morphing Into Primal" - 3:05: Listen to that double time! The drums take you by force in this song, yet the song maintains the melo-death sound, creating a sound I call melo-thrash metal. 08."Worlds Within the Margin" - 5:06: Probably the worst produced song on the album for the simple fact that the vocals in the opening are impossible to understand. But, it is made up when the real verse enters and a voice that Anders rarely(sadly) uses comes into the picture. 09."Episode 666" - 3:45: Every In Flames fan knows this song. It starts off with an wesome sound, and ends with an awesome sound. The chord progression used throughout the song just seems to flow so brilliantly, the drums keep your head bobbing - a masterpiece. 10."Everything Counts" (Depeche Mode Cover) - 3:17: Given it is a cover, you can't give much credit to originality, but we can give them credit for putting their own spin on it, and using it in a concept album where it's probably better off. 11."Whoracle" - 2:44: A dreamy way of letting go of the album. With a spectacular bass track and terrific percussion (not to mention the ethnic female singing) you get a song that makes you sad the cd's over. It's almost like this little instrumental is summing up all that your ears just took in.
Lyrics — 9
The album is a hypothetical story about the past, present, and future of the planet Earth. "Jotun" is a foreshadowing of the apocalyptic event that destroys a civilization. "Episode 666" is the story of said apocalyptic event. All the songs in the gaps tell the rise and fall of the civilization leading up to "Episode 666". "The Hive" and "The Jester Script Transfigured" speak of the technologically advanced utopia of a world it is, before it is destroyed. Even the cover song fits into the picture perfectly as it accurately describes the civilization building-then destroying it, and realizing their mistakes afterwords. The concept is amazing, but sometimes Anders doesn't come quite up to par as I would have loved to hear some ambient clean vocals on "The Jester Script Transfigured". But it doesn't go without saying that without Anders, In Flames would not quite be the band we love.
Overall Impression — 10
Now I know I am not supposed to speak too high of the albums I review, but UG Mods, you'll have to let this one slide. Whoracle is a completely ingenious album that demonstrates the true brilliance that is In Flames. Starting with "Jotun" and ending with the dreamy "Whoracle" (or Behind Space - Live if you got the special edition Japanese/Korean version) this album is one that must be heard, especially those who want a good first impression of In Flames. Speaking of special edition, if you happen to get the Japanese/Korean version, you get three more songs: 12."Goliaths Disarm their Davids": An ok song, not my favorite, easy to see why it would be a bonus track. 13."Acoustic Medley": a beautiful medley, taking bits and pieces of the album such as the Jotun riff to create a little fun acoustic track. 14."Behind Space - Live": In Flames playing a classic live. Fairly good though the sound quality is nothing special. Still fun to hear the band rip it up live like they do in the studio. Whom this album is for: Melodic Death Metal fans, fans of literature, those with an imagination, any person who likes a good guitar riff. Whom this album is not for: Those who don't have the patience for songs over 3 minutes long (trust me, I know a few), those who like a much more vocal-based sound, those who have only heard "A Sense of Purpose" and are expecting the same sound-That is nothing like this. Whoracle deserves more recognition in the metal industry, unfortunately it never will. But I propose a toast to those who fell in love with this album as I did, and those who are reading this review, or considering buying this album, regardless of outside opinions... In Flames We Trust!