The Jester Race, curiously enough, was the first In Flames album I heard. My roomie at the time had it in his CD collection, but was not a fan of it. I bought it off him for $5. Best five bucks I ever spent.
This album broke new ground in the death metal scene. It is impossible to listen to this and not be highly impressed, if not amazed. In Flames takes melodic death metal to new heights. Now, there are many "true metal fans", as they call themselves, who will tell you that if a death metal band carries a melody and can actually PLAY their instruments, then they are sellouts and can be classified as "False Metal". I have one word for these jokers: BULLSH*T!
I, for one, am not impressed by some overly demonic death metal band who dumps fake blood on themselves, all the while thrashing a wall of distortion while belching into the microphone. Do I have something againts these bands? No. But I have something against people who term bands such as In Flames and Arch Enemy, ect.... as "melodic crap". Oops. Sorry for the talent. We'll try and do away with that next time.
The Jester Race excels in several ways. While Anders Frieden has not matured vocally at this point, he still provides some competent grating vocals that interweave very well with the dual-guitar attack. The combination of aggresive crushing melody with obscure Swedish folklore works wonders. These tunes will stick in your head forever.... they are that good. Extremely catchy. And no, this is NOT a bad thing, as some of these "metal purists" would have you belive. We're not talking about some dumbass losers like Limp Bizkit or Sevendust here. One word of advise: If you buy this album and fall in love with it, pick up "Tales from the Thousand Lakes", if you haven't already. That is another milestone album in the vein of this In Flames release, only with Finnish folklore.