It feels like forever since In Flames have been over to these shores. The last time the band was here was in 2011 behind “Sounds of a Playground Fading”. After the band pulled out of their Download Festival slot earlier this year, it seemed like we’d have to wait until 2015 to get a glimpse of them again, but lo and behold the band are here now, and let me tell you know, the wait has been more than worth it.
But before we get to that, we have Wovenwar and While She Sleeps to get passed first, two young hungry bands that look set to challenge the headliners and even threaten to upstage In Flames.
Wovenwar get a good reception, as you’d expect, even though this is a new band, they have songs to burn and it seems that the fans are more than behind them. Much respect and credit to the members of As I Lay Dying for still carrying on and doing what they love despite the recent debacle. They bring a wide range of crushing riffs, lovely harmonies and even get lighters in the air for their finale, propelling them to ‘ones to watch’ status.
When you think about raw British talent, there is one name that consistently pops up and that is While She Sleeps. A band that time and again takes themselves to the very limit, and tonight is no different. This is the first time the boys have been back on home soil in a club venue in a very long time, but if Download showed us anything, it’s that there’s no signs of slowing them down. Despite mic problems, Loz still proves to be a manic, frantic frontman, all wild-eyed frenzy and full of crazy energy.
There is a very real danger that While She Sleeps could steal the show right from under In Flames‘ noses, and it’s a credit to them that they do the right thing, and win over a large portion of the audience in the process. While She Sleeps have always been ones to watch, but now they have become the ones to beat.
The last few years have been an interesting time for In Flames, especially on record, where it seems like the band has lost a bit of their fire. Nowadays, In Flames‘ recorded output is looked upon with trepidation rather than the fevered excitement of their earlier works. In the live arena the band is still king though, as they prove tonight. Past meets present, with a career spanning set list that even the most obnoxious of über fans could be happy with. The songs from “Siren Charms”, the band’s latest opus, go down a treat, which helps, because they sound huge in a venue, whereas they come across a little flat on record.
In Flames have always been a world-class band and even though they may not be the death metal juggernaut they once were, there is a maturity to their brutality and live the band can still hang with the best of them, as flailing limbs and sharpened riffs proved tonight. This has been a stunning return from one of Sweden’s finest exports. Brilliant stuff.