Released October 27 1997
In Flames recorded their third release in 1997 and it was apparently a hard album to record because the band would rather drink beer and play video games all day long. Guitarist Niklas Sundin transcribed all of Anders Friden’s lyrics from Swedish to English, and it was also the last release to feature Johan Larsson and Glenn Ljungstrom. This is also the last album to have drummer Bjorn Gelotte, as he switched to playing guitar on latter releases.
Whoracle is considered to be a concept album detailing the past, present and future of the Earth. The majority of the lyrics describe a society broken down due to an apocalyptic event; the song “Jotun” is a perfect example of this. Other songs like “Episode 666” describe the perversity of televising such devastation and the heart of the material hits home on tracks like “The Hive”. Other tracks like “Jester Script Transfigured” chillingly describe a technological advanced society brought down by human folly, thus warning of a utopian world that can never truly be. The band also included a cover of Depeche Mode’s “Everything Counts” which oddly enough fits perfectly into their theme of humanity’s downfall.
It is also worth noting that Whoracle continues to excel in the melodious riffing department and even leans more towards an angry and aggressive vibe that is not present on future releases. Some critics felt the melo-death approach can only be stretched so far, so it’s not surprising the band began streamlining their sound on following releases like Colony and Clayman.
As a whole though, Whoracle is a strong release and deserves a solid 8 out of 10 in my books. I think the standout tracks include: “Jotun”, “Food For the Gods”, “The Hive”, “Jester Script Transfigures”, “Morphing Into Primal” and “Episode 666”.