The Fillmore was the place to be for metal heads Monday night as the Swedish melodeath masters In Flames made a tour stop in Charlotte on their I, The Mask tour. It’s not often that we get a chance to see metal bands from Sweden here in the Queen City and it seemed like every metal fan in town came out to show their support. To make the night even more special, All That Remains and All Hail The Yeti were also on the bill.
The security lines were long but moving quickly as I got to the venue and made my way inside. The stage was set up for the California rockers All Hail The Yeti as they would be kicking things off. They had a small altar like set up center stage with an animal skeleton flanked by lights and incense burning from both sides. It is here that frontman Conner Garrity would weave his magical spell and captivate the audience proving that he is not only a strong vocalist but also a consummate showman. I have been a huge fan of the band since the “Screams from a Black Wilderness” album and was happy to finally see them in their natural element, tearing it up on stage. Their set was short with only five songs but they gave it everything they had and put on a show that any metal fan would be proud to mosh to.
Next up was the Massachusetts metal of All That Remains. The band is suffering from the recent loss of lead guitarist Oli Herbert just a few months ago and I was interested to see their new guitarist and the audience reaction to him. All That Remains plays a real mixture of metal with everything from traditional heavy metal to metalcore and even a little melodic death metal vibes thrown in here and there. The band even had a chart topping ballad a few years back with “What If I Was Nothing,” a terrific song but one that left some fans scratching their heads in confusion. Before the band hit the stage, chants of Oli! Oli! could be heard around the venue in honor of the late guitarist. Tonight lead vocalist Phil Labonte came out clad in a tee shirt that said “F*ck censorship” and quickly took control of the evening. The band was fierce and Phil was spot on. Before the third song, Labonte took a moment to address the audience about Oli and introduce their new guitarist Jason Richardson. He talked about the toll that Oli’s death had on the band and the audience began the Oli! chants once again as Phil hung his head low for a moment of silence. Reassuring the fans, that Oli himself would have approved of Jason joining the band, and asked the crowd to give him a warm welcome, to which they willing obliged. The band then launched into the heartbreaking “Everything’s Wrong” a song that suddenly took on a much deeper meaning to all who were there. Richardson proved his worth all evening long with a definite technical prowess and sincere enthusiasm for his craft. The venue was on fire as All That Remains finished up with the fan favorite “Two Weeks.”
After a brief break, it was finally time for the main attraction as In Flames got their chance to shine. Their stage set was simple with an In Flames banner gracing the rear of the stage and drummer Tanner Wayne’s kit positioned on a center riser. As the lights turned from flashing white to a deep, dark blue, Tanner gave the audience a brief wave before taking his seat on his throne. The lights dimmed again as the rest of the band hit the stage. Lead vocalist Anders Friden immediately jumped up on a riser, fist pumping high in the air, starting off with “Voices” from their upcoming album “I, The Mask.” The new album is their thirteenth studio album and first with drummer Tanner Wayne and has so far been met with mixed reactions from both fans and critics. The crowd was definitely amped up for the performance and In Flames did not disappoint. Lead guitarist Bjorn Gelotte was a wildman, posing and playing for the audience every chance he got as his fingers flew across the fretboard. The rhythm section of Wayne behind the kit and bass guitarist Bryce Paul provided a solid, thundering backbone for the frenetic guitar stylings of Gelotte and the fierce vocals of Friden. There was one member noticeably missing from the lineup which was rhythm guitarist Niclas Engelin who had to sit out the tour on medical advice. But In Flames didn’t just get any ole guitarist to take Niclas’s place. They went out and got, in Friden’s words, “Superman,” in none other than ex-Megadeth guitarist Chris Broderick. Chris is a master in his own right and definitely was a perfect substitute for Engelin with his brilliant guitar work but also his amazing stage presence. The band kept things moving and the crowd surfers kept coming as they ran through a sixteen song set. Crowd favorite “Colony” really had the venue jumping and of course they ended this night of metal with “The End.”
It was a perfect night of metal that left fans drained physically and emotionally. There was no better way to spend your Monday night than at a metal show with In Flames.
Where the Dead Ships Dwell
Monsters in the Ballroom
All For Me
(This is Our) House
Here Until Forever
My Sweet Shadow
I Am Above
The Mirror’s Truth
We would like to thank Dana Gorab from E7LG for the credentials to review the show.