Gallery & Review / In Flames
PHOTOS BY BRANDON TURNER
On a mild February night in Louisville, Kentucky, approximately 400 seasoned metalheads filled the Mercury Ballroom to welcome Swedish heavy metal act In Flames. The I, The Mask Tour brings the quintet back to the states for a cross country run. The crowd was primed by openers All Hail The Yeti and All That Remains. There was a lot of anticipation swirling around the venue awaiting the first In Flames performance in Kentucky since 2013. Opening up with a new track, Voices from the new album I, The Mask the set was off to a fast start. You can never know what to expect from a band that has existed for almost 30 years, especially pioneers to the Melodic Death Metal genre. One thing that was made clear early is that they hadn’t lost a step. Clad in all black street clothes it was apparent they’re not taking themselves too seriously. One thing most artists typically don’t enjoy is fans requesting songs from the crowd. But vocalist Anders Fridern had his fun with playful banter throughout the night. He assured that even though the fan wouldn’t hear his request they would still play songs spanning their 13 album career in their 18 song set. Anders even made the night for a fan that wasn’t even at the show through a Facetime call. From interacting with the fans to just smiling at each other on stage, the art of performing wasn’t lost on them, even though the 5 piece wasn’t whole. Rhythm guitarist Niclas Engelin was sidelined for this tour so the band called in former Megadeth guitarist, Chris Broderick.
Even though Kentucky crowds are often quiet, even at metal shows, the energy picked up as waves of crowd surfers rode their way to the stage throughout the set. Fans also participated in sing alongs on new and old tracks.
In Flames is set to release their 13th studio album on March 1st, 2019, I, The Mask. Often times artists with storied careers may take the opportunity to release a project that experiments into a new territory. I, The Mask stays on the path the band has forged for decades. This album is filled with dynamic riffs, anthemic melodies and laced with sweeping guitar solos. In Flames takes everything they have done well over the years and improve upon every aspect. It’s refreshing that they just didn’t write another heavy record just because they could. This album is heavy when it needs to be. Instead of recreating a sound from the past, this album displays a range of a crafted sound. Guitarist Bjorn Gelotte and Anders took a more detail oriented approach in the writing stages of I, The Mask. The lyrical content ranges from guidance to resistance, with highlights of solidarity.
“In the case of the album concept, it’s based on the idea of a kid who’s been through something terrible and his way of coping with the real world is by putting this fictional mask on which he then becomes caught up with the issues involved in doing this,” Gelotte told Overdrive. Gelotte also teased that there is more of a story to unfold with the album rollout upon release.
“This album is really a special one to us,” Anders Fridern explained. “Since our last record, 'Battles', we've established our own annual festival (Borghom Brinner) in Sweden and have been touring non-stop worldwide, creating an even stronger bond with our fans. You could say it was a big part of our inspiration for this album. It's been such a long journey that just keeps going and growing. We feel extremely thankful for that, and for the support that makes it possible. We dedicate our 13th album, 'I, The Mask', to our fans who allow us to keep making music and playing it every night. IN JESTERHEADS WE TRUST.”
I, The Mask is an energetic 13-tracks that will have you moving and singing along with it from beginning to end.
Rating: 8/10 | Notable Tracks: Voices, I, The Mask, (This is our) House, I Am Above, We Will Remember