In Flames - Lunar Strain review


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Band: In Flames
Album: Lunar Strain
Release date: 1994

01. Behind Space
02. Lunar Strain
03. Starforsaken
04. Dreamscape
05. Everlost (Part I)
06. Everlost (Part II)
07. Hårgalåten
08. In Flames
09. Upon An Oaken Throne
10. Clad In Shadows
11. In Flames [2005 re-release bonus] [1993 demo version]
12. Upon An Oaken Throne [2005 re-release bonus] [1993 demo version]
13. Acoustic Piece [2005 re-release bonus] [1993 demo version]
14. Clad In Shadows [2005 re-release bonus] [1993 demo version]

Here is an important CD, the first official release of Swedish In Flames. 1994's Lunar Strain is indeed a monument in the world of Melodic Death Metal, especially if you consider that 1994 is almost ten years from now. At that time, the band is still more a bunch of musicians than a band, and, by the way, it can be considered as a mix between Dark Tranquillity and In Flames, seeing that Mikael Stanne [singer of Dark Tranquillity nowadays] handled the vocals on Lunar Strain!

The music itself is closer to nowadays Dark Tranquillity than to nowadays In Flames, and also definitely more folkish than all their following albums. This album includes great compositions such as the opener 'Behind Space', the surprising 'Biosphere', and, of course, the song 'In Flames'! You can't ignore that that song is simply mind-blowing with its slower breaks. As a general observation, Lunar Strain sounds closer to the true values of Death Metal than any other In Flames' album, and songs like 'Lunar Strain', 'Upon A Oaken Throne' and 'Clad In Shadows' attest.

But the most interesting tracks are probably the duo 'Everlost [Part I]' / ''Everlost [Part I]'. The first part is a slow-tempo ballad with the nicely tortured voice of Mikael Stanne, who gives another dimension to the song all by himself. For those who are into Dark Tranquillity, the song 'Lethe' from the album The Gallery is a lot of similarities with this one. As of the second part of 'Everlost', that is a beautiful acoustic ballad with wonderful angelic female voices, bringing gothic elements to the album but, more important, turning that song into a real diamond. 'Hargalaten' is another unusual song for the Swedish band as it's a traditional anthem played with classical instruments. That's refreshing!

On the finish line, Lunar Strain is a good album, diversified, intense but this record is also a proof of great musicianship already. With that debut album, In Flames was on a stairway to fame. An important thing, you cannot find that album anymore because it's sold out and it has never been re-issued since. The solution is to get the compilation Lunar Strain & Subterranean released by Nuclear Blast in 1999, which is basically these two records merged into one.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Production: 6


Written on 17.09.2003 by Bringing you reviews of quality music and interesting questions such as:

"A picture is worth a thousand words. How many words is a song worth?"

I have only got so much patience and skills, you do the math.


Comments: 16   Visited by: 138 users
23.07.2006 - 13:18
dark awakening
Good review! Also 4 me Everlost is maybe the most interesting song of this album.
Baptized in a lake of acid tears...
03.10.2006 - 01:15
Account deleted
Only and 8.0? This is the best thing In Flames have ever released in my opinion.
15.11.2006 - 15:02
Rosetta Stoned
I'm not very into this one, they've done a bunch of better ones. 6-7 maybe, and I'm not a huge In Flames fan at all so don't blame me to much. Though the version of Behind Space is awesome! Much better than the new version and it's a terrific song!
14.12.2006 - 17:37
Shadow Of A Man
Account deleted
I would give this album a 10... in my opionion Lunar Strain and Whoracle are the best In Flames albums...
14.12.2006 - 17:38
Shadow Of A Man
Account deleted
I would give this album a 10... in my opionion Lunar Strain and Whoracle are the best In Flames albums...
05.07.2007 - 21:42
This is one of the best albums of In Flames. The perfect start to an excellent career (unfortunetly some of the recent albums are disapointing...). But this album has some of the best compositions of this kind of Metal. Songs like Behind Space, In Flames and Everlost are unforgettable.
06.08.2007 - 14:27
Perpetual Ascent
Is this album really sold out? I bought it in March/April of this year and i can sure you that is not a compilation.
07.08.2007 - 14:14
Dream Taster
The Enemy Within
Psycho, I wrote the review in 2003, maybe it was re-edited since then.
08.08.2007 - 06:13
Perpetual Ascent
Oh ok...
18.09.2007 - 16:47
man i love this record, every song of it!
but i can't buy it anywhere, i've ordered it several times and they're all out of store, and no store i've been to has it, that sucks
24.07.2008 - 18:41
The Summoner
good review. i wouldnt say great musicianship though, maybe just good song writing.

i give this a 10.. this and jester race are the best for me
23.05.2009 - 09:11
Liver Failure
Excellent debut album, great review also. The new In Flames doesn't bother me at all, but their early releases are sure the best.

member of the true crusade against old school heavy metal, early 80s thrash, NWOBHM, traditional doom, first and second wave black metal, old school death metal, US power metal, 70s prog rock and atmospheric doomsludgestoner. o/
28.08.2009 - 18:56
I like the folky elements on some of the songs. It's a really important In Flames album tbh, gave it 8/10. But I disagree with the 6/10 for production, it deserves a bit more than that, I mean c'mon this was out in 1994, give it a break! All their releases from Subterranean to Clayman are fucking amazing! Every album between them and including them gets a 10
13.03.2010 - 11:18
This album was deff more raw and in ur face then their later albums, but still great regardless.
02.08.2010 - 16:41
This is their best album..

By the way, you have reviewed 'Biosphere'? That isn't included in this album like you're review states. It belongs in Subterranean EP. But yes, it is surprising track indeed
19.06.2011 - 20:09
This album deserves a 10. It is not only my favorite In Flames record but it is one of my favorite albums of all time!
Wendy's frostys are "black metal."

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