In Flames

Copenhell - 2013

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Going from Viking death, moving through old-school death with electronic influences, we were now heading straight back to Helvíti for a dose of Gothenburg melodeath. Who says metal is one-sided?

“The only reason In Flames are here tonight is that we want to smell some Danes!”
- Anders Fridén (vocals)

It felt like forever and a day since the last time I saw In Flames, and yes I did see them at Wacken less than a year ago but anyone who met me there would probably testify to me not being in complete control of my senses...
Still with a long history with the band that has seen both ups and downs, and an admiration that has somewhat waned over the later years where I haven’t been keeping up with new releases, it was with curiosity as the strongest feeling that I awaited the Swedish quintet together with most of the rest of the festival in the warm sunshine.
When they entered, it was to loud cheers and shouts from the audiences’ side, but I couldn’t quite let go of the out of place combination of a nameless baseball cap and a Cannibal Corpse t-shirt that vocalist Fridén was sporting. Going by his and the band’s latest direction, it was the shirt that surprised me most...
Musically, I figured that In Flames would stick with later era songs and when they kicked off with Sounds Of A Playground Fading and followed that one with a song I don’t even know the title of, these suspicions were only strengthened.
But then something happened, Fridén called out that that they were now going to play something old, and after a second of afterthought he wisely added an –er to that. Even so, the not so helpful sound the band had, as well as my already diminishing interest in the show, made it so that I didn’t even realise they were playing Pinball Map until Lunah (Lauridsen, our photographer) mentioned it to me. My bad, I admit.
Now that I was aware of the direction things were taking, I was better equipped to enjoy the following setlist which surely showed love for mid-era In Flames with songs concentrating on their hit album Reroute To Remain, but going as far back as Colony and even Whoracle. Not bad for a band that has strayed quite far from their roots, and the crowd obviously enjoyed it to the full extent. If there was only one thing that surprised more than anything with the choice of songs though, it was that they omitted Only For The Weak, quite possibly their biggest live favourite ever...

“This is a love-song from In Flames to Copenhell!”
- Fridén (vocals)

The band actually seemed to enjoy themselves quite a lot as they moved through song after song, and it was good to finally see Niclas Engelin live again after so many shows with his nearly namesake band Engel with which he doesn’t play live anymore (and hasn’t done so for a long time).
Still, I couldn’t quite connect with the band, and the feeling I got was like a get together with an old friend with whom you have grown apart from a long time ago – it was certainly nice to reminisce about old times, but you don’t really have anything in common anymore.
Luckily for the band, there were enough people at Copenhell to support them and who didn’t feel this way that this one reporter certainly wasn’t missed. Admittedly, Fridén had a good grasp on the fans, and as he changed between Swedish to English (much against the audiences’ wishes actually), he got to say quite a lot of things, some more intelligent than others. One of the more popular, given the effect it had, was when he just prior to playing Ropes called out for people to start crowdsurfing like hell, because he felt that the guards were having a holiday and they needed to do some real work. It wasn’t quite as effective as Kataklysm’s Security Stress Test™, but it certainly did the trick!
The show ended with the above mentioned love-song, Take This Life, followed by My Sweet Shadow, but the cheers for these Gothenburg gentlemen lasted far longer than that.
All in all, a successful show for the band where I realised that I’m just not on the wagon anymore.

Setlist (incomplete):

Sounds Of A Playground Fading
Pinball Map
Embody The Invisible
Cloud Connected
The Hive
The Quiet Place
Reroute To Remain
Take This Life
My Sweet Shadow

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