Swedish Veterans Take On The O2
There was something relatively surreal about watching In Flames logos light up the screens at the massive O2 Arena. We got down early enough to catch the opening slot and even a slight glance across the arena showed that more than a fair few were excited to see the Swedish Metal veterans as well. Despite the last album being altogether a bit shaky, this is a band who have twelve studio albums worth of material to squeeze in to a thirty minute show so they did what any band in that position should do - try and pack it with crowd-pleasing tracks as best they can.
Opening with the thunderous Bullet Ride there was an immediate reaction from the crowd as the early birds did their best to generate pits towards the front. As the crowd continued to file in there were the odd Swedish flags held aloft dotted around the O2, and with the confident, heavy performance from In Flames their strive to not be forgotten amongst the two heavyweight acts above them was in full force. As ever Anders Friden delivered excellent doses of stage banter between tracks, not being shy at all to use the extended stage reaching in to the first few rows of the crowd.
The set did dip slightly when the focus landed on some of the newer songs, but considering it's slightly skewed reception on release, these tracks did sound better in a live environment. Overall In Flames are an important cog in the history of Heavy Metal, and their experience and general 'know-how' allowed them to deliver a support slot which wouldn't have been as instantly forgettable as these sets can be.