Live Review: In Flames - Brixton Academy, London
22nd November 2022
Words & Photos: Charley Shillabeer
Imminence was a band that shocked me. When you see a front man of a metal band with a Violin in hand there are two thoughts that instantly take a hold of the mind; Number one, Oh Jesus Christ, he has a violin, Duck and Cover! Number two, This guy is gonna lay down some cold hearted operatic goodness. Cold hearted operatic goodness was indeed, Layed down.
While Imminence were performing the venue was unfortunately half filled. Very noticeably thin by the barriers. Considering the lack of density at the Academy the five piece from Trelleborg, Sweden, had everyone in the palm of their hand. It was an impressive display with theatrics through the roof! Smoke, lights directed into the crowd transforming the band into headbanging silhouettes. A beautiful display with a sound to match.
A poignant moment to discuss would be when front man and violinist Eddie Berg performed a solo towards the end of the set. A cold spot light bathes Eddie in an illumination glow. He pulls and pushes the bow allowing his instrument to sing by itself, no longer complemented by the powerful Bellow of the percussion, guitars and bass. An inviting, lucid sound melts the crowd during the Cold London Evening. A small time passes gently and then furiously erupts into a tight explosion of Melodic Metalcore.
I had never heard of Imminence before tonight but they’ve made an impression. Strong, passionate musicians that bring me back to the early 10’s Metalcore with more tension and originality than most. A vastly different sound than the main Support.
Stage hands and nearly finished with their change over. I can see the iconic image of the demonic Jesus Christ stretched over Adrian Erlansson kick drum. An ominous acoustic riff develops, it’s Spectre of Extinction. At The Gates are nowhere to be seen. The duration of the riff is strained due to the absence of those whom are playing the riff. Finally Adrian mounts his kit. A loud clamor fills every corner of the Academy’s giant stature. Guitarists and bassist; Anders Björler, Jonas Björler and Martin Larsson emerge from the corners of backstage. They get into their positions standing tall on the vanguard of the venue. Finally Tomas Lindberg struts on the stage, microphone in hand.
Adrian is on point, technical and punchy organically leading the performance from start to finish. Most noticeably during Slaughter of the Soul.
At The Gates are a powerhouse of a band holding a grip on the relativity of their sound for Decades, often flying high on festival line ups. This holds true today. Their sound is memorable and for good reason, they are an awesome band! However, watching Lindberg's animated gestures and movements was awkward to watch. Visually, the 50 year old struggles to synchronise with the sound produced by the Swedish death metal pioneers.
At multiple points during the set Lindberg removed himself from the stage to fetch a mic stand that at no point during the show was used for its actual function. Though I appreciated the stiff, gawky motion of lunging the mic stand out as a sort of spear it felt forced and redundant.
Headline time, In Flames. Another one of the Swedish death metal pioneers. The ambience builds and the smoke thickens. To my left on top of a flight case but still very visible on stage there are two peronis, a can on full fat Coke and a phone turned horizontally playing an NFL game. Is NFL big in Sweden? Before the thought is completely processed, on they come. The entrance is quick and without hesitation. Vocalist Fridén stares out over the now densely filled Brixton Academy and bares a smile. As the melodic riff on their new release - The Great Deceiver plays. Fridén drops his chest to his knee and bellows out those cruel low screams. This is a god damn show!
Objectively the stage looked like a Sci-Fi fan’s wet dream. Lights encased in grated boxes. The drum kit is on the right on top of a stage riser. Mirrored to the left are two sets of keys. These look like the gear sticks to an extraterrestrial Honda Civic. The perfect backdrop for the band.
Whether or not you are a fan of in flames, one thing is undeniable, these men are professionals. The sound produced was incredible and was an absolute experience watching from start to finish.
The complexity of the sound along with the energy of each individual member was astounding. Not to twist the dagger but in comparison to At The Gates and considering the similarity in age, In Flames holds the Olympic torch of longevity by a Marathon.
An awe inspiring moment occurred during Behind Space, the first track on the iconic album, Lunar Strain. Mid way through the song, Chris Broderick, former guitarist of Megadeth, walks over the metal grates housing the lights that divided the stage. Chris broke this imaginary wall. Although there was canyon between him and the crowd held back by the barrier. It was clear to see a cluster of first row reaching out with fists and devil horns.
It was great to see all members of In Flames playing a diverse catalog of songs and playing them excellently at that.