© Nuclear Blast 1997
Track listing

  1. Jotun
  2. Food For The Gods
  3. Gyroscope
  4. The Hive
  5. Dialogue With the Stars
  6. Jester Script Transfigured
  7. Morphing Into Primal
  8. Worlds Within the Margin
  9. Episode 666
  10. Everything Counts
  11. Whoracle

Whoracle is the third full-length album release by the Gothenburg (Sweden)-based metal group In Flames. Musically it is one of their strongest, with sweeping melodies complementing an aggressive rhythm section. It could be said that this record is one of the defining works of melodic death metal, especially of the Gothenburg style. In Flames combine traditional, bass-driven death metal with folk melodies and classical guitar to create an incredibly feature-rich and accessible album that can appeal to even those that usually shun the screaming male vocals typical for this kind of music.

With Whoracle, In Flames took their first larger step away from traditional death metal (this would later be seen quite strongly with subsequent releases of "Colony" and "Clayman") with the strong role of acoustic guitar interludes and driving, folk-inspired melodies. The sounds on the recording are not entirely clear, but are sufficiently crisp to bring forward the strong guitar work and driving drumming. The lead guitar sounds are fluid, conveying much emotion. This is further accentuated by the fact that many of the leads develop on top of the riff structure throughout the song - in effect creating a multi-layered musical experience. Personally I feel that a good description of these emotion-laden lead melodies is that they carry a story. On numerous occasions the two guitarists play two-part (and on the recording, even three-part) harmonies. The music remains at all times quite simple, however, adding to the accessibility and appeal of the recording. The musicians can create powerful stories with their work with no need of technical gimmicks.

The lyrics for Whoracle were penned by Niklas Sundin, of fellow Gothenburg act Dark Tranquillity. The two bands have cooperated quite extensively in the past, with Dark Tranquillity vocalist Mikael Stanne even singing on some In Flames recordings. In Flames vocalist Anders Friden asked Sundin to write English lyrics for him based on his ideas, and this on the whole works out well. The words carry many meanings, epitomized by the pun in the album's title. Lyrically, the album deals with parallel universes, theories of worlds within worlds, superior beings, all the way to genetic manipulation and its inherent dangers. The few problems in English pronounciation Anders Friden has do not detract from the listening, as the vocalization is well-delivered and powerful. Friden can truly use his voice to the fullest potential, as shown by the first screamed vocals of "Worlds Within the Margin" - an incredibly dry, deep and hoarse scream leading the way to a pounding, heavy verse.

The songs themselves are all varied, ranging from the fast-paced and furious "Morphing Into Primal" to the more contemplative "Gyroscope". An instrumental track, "Dialogue With the Stars" deserves special mention, as it is a powerful work in itself, resting on the powerful harmonious melodies woven by the two guitarists. The songs do form a cohesive whole, though, comprising of similar elements in sufficiently varied quantities. Track 10 is a cover of the Depeche Mode song of the same name, and is an unexpected but acceptable addition to the record. This track ends to the acoustic title track, which ends the work softly into silence.

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