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At the forefront of the Swedish metal brigade are In Flames, one of the most visible and popular bands from the region whose re-release of their first two albums from 1994 and 1995, LUNAR STRAIN and SUBTERRANEAN, marks the first time in the U.S. that the bandís entire catalog is available. These albums, for those familiar with the bandís current Ozzfest-friendly sound, may be a bit surprising at first, as they express a more raw sounding band, especially vocally, as current lead singer Anders Friden didnít join the fold until 1997. The bandís staple flavorful fretwork is still greatly featured, however, and the relentless metal template that In Flames helped to create is here in all of its early glories, especially on LUNAR STRAIN, where current Dark Funeral throat Mikael Stanne mans the microphone and leads the punishing procession. If you want to bone up on your Swedish metal history or are interested in the early works of an influential metal troupe, these re-issues are essential.
- Mike SOS