Saturday, August 23, 2003 @ 11:54 PM
In Flames & Chimaira Live at T
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REVIEW BY: Mike Gauthier
The best in Swedish metal came to Worcester recently and brought along with them one of the more promising young American metal acts to come around in quite a while. In Flames and Chimaira did their best to outsmart the poor sound of the Palladium, but that’s a tall task to ask of even these two great bands. The Palladium creates quite the paradox for Massachusetts metal-heads – the sounds is terrible, but it’s often the only place around that features any type of extreme music.
In many ways Chimaira is a pretty typical death/agro metal band. Guttural vocals, detuned guitars, thrash beats mixed with heavy grooves – all the usual stuff. Dig a little deeper though and even the most skeptical of heavy music fans would have a difficult time not being intrigued by the almost jazzy feel of these guys. The band broke out a few new tracks from their new album, The Impossibility of Reason. The crowd seemed to still be interested in their older tracks however, “Severed” in particular being a highlight. These guys definitely show potential. Vocalist Mark Hunter can scream with the best of them, electronics guy/2nd vocalist Chris Spicuzza brings a high amount of energy for a guy basically stuck behind a mixing board all night and drummer Andols Herrick is an absolute monster behind the kit. It will be interesting to see if these guys can rise above the current crop of young metal acts.
Headliner In Flames took the stage (with a huge Swedish flag in the background) to the electronica-influenced “Cloud Connected.” Old school IF fans point to this song (and their most recent album, Reroute To Remain) as a bad sign for the band. Some say it’s sort of their Black Album – slow down the tempos, shorten the songs, beef up the production and maybe we’ll sell a few more records. That’s pure BS to anyone who witnessed this show – this album is just as heavy and more brutal than anything they’ve done. Contrarily to popular belief, improving your songwriting does not mean selling out. The title track, “System” and “Minus” all showed just how far this band has come over the years. Live, they mixed in perfectly along side classics like “Gyroscope” and “Episode 666,” both from 1997’s Whoracle. New track “Watch Them Feed” was a bit of a disappointment, partially due to the aforementioned poor sound. Vocalist Anders Friden did his best to rise above it however, especially on “Bullet Ride” which was probably the highlight of the evening. The current crop of sloppy metal acts making the rounds could learn a lesson from just how tight this band is on stage.
In Flames has definitely built up a devoted following here in the US. It would be nice to see them able to take it up a level and get some more attention (read: record sales). Maybe their new album, due in the spring of 2004, will help the cause.