F U L L . R E V I E W S


In Flames - Lunar Strain/Subterranean (Reissue) - 2005 - Candlelight Records

And so it begins. Quite possibly two of the most important releases in metal history are upon us again, finally reaching these US shores a decade later. Sweden's greatest export, In Flames, stacked along side Dark Tranquillity and At The Gates as one of the founders of the melodic death movement are reintroduced to fans stateside. Youth today can experience this sound through the likes of Killswitch Engage, Arch Enemy, and Children Of Bodom, but take note that everything had a beginning. It all started here, within these walls, made famous world-wide through hard work, extensive touring, and absolutely phenomenal talent.

Throughout the 90s fans of the underground were singing the praises of In Flames. With the band finally making waves with their '97 release "The Jester Race", fans started hunting down the two lost treasures, those being the '94 debut of the group, "Lunar Strain" and the '95 EP "Subterranean". At import prices ranging between $25-$40, few fans including myself could afford these original gems. NOW, Candlelight Records has teamed up with Regain Records to bring these absolute masterpieces to the domestic market, dressed up, remastered, and given a new life via demos and unreleased tracks.

This is certainly something special, something both rewarding and pleasing to the band's fan base. Really this couldn't come at a better time, with the band at this point in their career a little confused about the direction of their sound. Confusing me and just about everyone else along the way, I lost track of the group after the rather disappointing 2002 record "Reroute To Remain". But alas, we now have these monumental recordings to please our senses, opening our ears to the band's prime so to speak, and possibly breathing new life into the band's existence by revisiting these golden years.

First up is "Lunar Strain", originally released by Wrong Again Music in Europe. In Flames debut featured one Mikael Stanne on lead vocals, who later moved on to Dark Tranquillity, a band that for some reason never quite got the same headspeed as In Flames. Nevertheless Stanne's vocal display is just awe inspiring here, injecting a healthy, cold blast to this rugged, yet often melodic opus. At this point in the band's career a lot of lineup changes were taking place, with this recording only featuring one In Flames alumni, that being Jesper Stromblad. Along with the full release, Candlelight has decided to throw in some rare demos as well including an unreleased acoustic piece. Along with the added quantity of songs comes a thick, more polished sound, one that still keeps that raw intensity that made the album so good to begin with.

Next is "Subterranean", again released originally in Europe through Wrong Again Music (often referred to as WAR). This short EP is probably my favorite recording from the group, with amazing melodic journeys like "Everdying" and "Biosphere". Strangers to the band's early recordings will find a bit of a surprise here, as Stanne left to make way for vocalist Henke Forss. Forss hasn't done anything else to my knowledge but you will find his ear rattling screams on this release, the last before Anders Friden finally took the helm. Of course this one gets remastered as well, and we get a few treasures thrown in as well. Unreleased demos featuring vocalist Jocke Gothberg are here, including "Dead Eternity" and "The Inborn Lifeless" (which later became "Dead God In Me") are here as well as a couple of rare covers, "Murders In The Rue Morgue" (Iron Maiden) and "Eye Of The Beholder" (Metallica).

Cheers to Candlelight and Regain for teaming up to bring us these solid and innovative albums. With so many bands playing this style I think it is important to explain the genre's history. In Flames helped solidify the things you are seeing on MTV and Ozzfest. Historically speaking this early work from the band is just so important. It helps to explain where it all started from, how we came to this bridge, and really what waits on the other side.


--EC 05.30.05
About this Writer:
Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has contributed to MaximumMetal.com since it's conception in 2003. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia. You can also find him on his paperbackwarrior.com blog discussing all things action and adventure.

Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: IN FLAMES
CD
TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
A Sense of PurposeIn Flames
2008
Frank Hill6/12/2008
Come ClarityIn Flames
2006
Frank Hill3/8/2006
Lunar Strain/Subterranean (Reissues)In Flames
2005
Eric Compton6/17/2005
Reroute to RemainIn Flames
2002
Guest1/21/2003
Siren CharmsIn Flames
2014
Frank Hill10/20/2014
Sounds of a Playground FadingIn Flames
2011
Eric Compton8/5/2011
Soundtrack to Your EscapeIn Flames
2004
Greg Watson4/30/2004
The Mirror's TruthIn Flames
2008
Frank Hill3/14/2008
Trigger EPIn Flames
2003
Frank Hill2/20/2004


ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: IN FLAMES
TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
BattlesIn Flames
2016
Eric Compton1/19/2017


ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: IN FLAMES
INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE
Anders FridenIn FlamesGreg Watson7/9/2004


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