Concert Reviews: IN FLAMES at Oslo Spektrum (Oslo, Norway)

IN FLAMES at Oslo Spektrum (Oslo, Norway)


December 11, 2022

by Jorge Patacas


Just a few days before Christmas, In Flames visited Norway as part of their two-month European tour to promote the upcoming album “Foregone” to be released in February 2023, and the venue selected for the show was Oslo Spektrum with a capacity for 9700 attendees. The legendary and also melodic death metal pioneers, At the Gates, were also part of this tour as well as two other Swedish bands: Orbit Culture and Imminence.
The time was 18:30 when Orbit Culture, a band from the city of Eksjö, began their very energetic 30-minute performance which wasn’t the first in Oslo this year, since they’ve also played at Tons of Rock festival back in June. The quartet that was founded in 2013 has influences from melodic death metal as well as groove metal, specially from bands like Gojira which can be noticed in certain riffs, although they cite bands like Metallica and Static-X as inspirations as well. They started with “Saw” followed by a couple of highlights, “North Star of Nija” and “Stangler”. Just a few words from the vocalist/guitarist Niklas Karlsson before they continued with “The Shadowing”, then leaving the stage with the latest single “Vultures of North”. Despite the setlist being short, it was not only very powerful with lots of headbanging, but they were able to show a glimpse of what they’re about.

Most of the audience was not familiar with Imminence, but they were impressed by them during their 30-minute performance. The band from the Swedish city of Trelleborg has clear metalcore and post-hardcore influences both musically and vocally where both screaming and clean vocals are used. The vocalist Eddie Berg also plays the violin in parts of some songs which was quite original to see in a genre like this and they gained a well-deserved ovation for those skills. The band has released four albums, but the their set was mainly focused on their latest effort “Heaven in Hiding” (2021) closing their performance with “Temptation”. Check out their show if you have the chance!
While we started hearing the soaring guitars of “Spectre of Extinction”, At the Gates members appeared on stage one by one, being Adrian Erlandsson the first and vocalist Tomas Lindberg the last.
Last time the band played in Oslo, it was with Jonas Stålhammar on guitars, but with the return of Anders Björler a few months ago, we got to see the classic lineup, the one who recorded their masterpiece “Slaughter of the Soul” (1995). The title track of this album was the second song of a setlist that consisted of a mix of old and new songs where “To Drink From the Night Itself”, “Cold”, “Under a Serpent Sun” and “Death and the Labyrinth” were highlights. However, it wasn’t until the instantly recognizable intro of their classic “Blinded by Fear” that the crowd really reacted. That was quite a surprise. There was one more song in the form of the atmospheric “The Night Eternal”, before concluding their 45-minute set and leaving the stage to their Gothenburg friends.

Together with At the Gates and Dark Tranquillity, In Flames is one of the pioneers of the so called “Gothenburg sound”, that mix of aggression and melody that characterizes melodic death metal. Their 90’s albums were essential for the development of the genre and inspired a lot of bands that came out later, whereas the last two decades they’ve been trying quite a lot of new ideas with a focus on a more modern and accessible sound, some electronics and a lot more use of clean vocals. All of this helped them to gain a whole new generation of fans. However, the older ones were taken by surprise when listening to the band’s latest singles, since they have some elements reminiscent to those classic albums, so we were about to witness a very interesting performance with a mix of songs from different eras. They opened with “The Great Deceiver”, one of the new singles, and right from the start we knew this was going to be an amazing show. The audience engaged from the first riff, the sound was great and specially the light effects really stood out. “Pinball Map” was the second song of the setlist and then “Cloud Connected” got the audience burst into applause and cheering. The vocalist Anders Fridén spoke to the audience in Swedish which Norwegians can understand and joked about the three American members of the band not understanding a word of what he was saying. Then it was time for some old school stuff from the first three albums, “Behind Space” from their debut “Lunar Strain” (1994), “Graveland” from the acclaimed “The Jester Race” (1996) and “The Hive” from the great album “Whoracle” (1997). That was very special for those having nostalgia of the early days of the genre. Their classic “Only for the Weak” made everyone jump and sing along, while “Wallflower” from the “Battles” album (2016) calmed things down a bit before getting heavier again with the first single of the new album, “State of Slow Decay”. It’s fair to say that guitarist Chris Broderick has adapted very well to the band considering he’s been playing other styles in the past with Megadeth, Jag Panzer and others, that’s why he became a permanent member after being helping out for three years.
“Alias” and “The Mirror’s Truth”, singles for their “A Sense of Purpose” album (2008) followed and then it was time for clearly another fan-favorite these days, “I Am Above”, which the crowd sang along. “Take This Life” was the last song of the evening that definitely met the expectations of the fans.

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