So it’s 7 on Saturday and I’m literally so bored that I’m just driving around town looking for something to do. I get a call from my friend-he’s got an extra pass to In Flames in the city tonight and it’s mine if I want it. Now, like I told the other Metal Blast writers during a certain abortive opening act, I’ll defend Whoracle and The Jester Race to my grave as probably the best documents of the ‘90s melodeath movement, but newer In Flames is pretty lame. But hey, the price is right and it’s not like I have anything better to do (like write more stuff for this site or anything) so I’m game.

The gig kicked off with Veil of Maya, one of the larger djent bands from out of Chicago. Though I wasn’t a fan of their deathcore-infused sound prior to the gig, their energy, creative use of one guitarist and barrage of riffage ended up winning me over. They were the best band of the evening, but not the best part-that was probably the dude in his mid 30s trying to explain to his wife what djent was over Maya’s set.

I had an idea of what the audience would be like, but man, they exceeded all my expectations. I tend to avoid the bro-est of metal shows-not out of some sense of superiority, but just because my tastes tend not to skew that way-but I was taken aback by what I saw. 12-year old kids wearing In Flames shirts who were probably unaware the band had material prior to the 2000s. People straight-up taking duckface pictures and posting them on Facebook in the middle of bands’ sets. That dude I mentioned earlier (seriously, your wife obviously was not enjoying this, she doesn’t give a shit about syncopated polyrhythms). I mean, I always knew these people existed, but this was a rude awakening. The last time I hit up a metal show with this kind of crowd was a few years ago when I caught Ozzy, and I must’ve forgotten, because man, seriously?

Anyway, Trivium were up next, sparking this conversation between my fellow writers:

Sam: I heard about this one thing a few years back where this one melodeath band called The Absence would give their fans a free shirt if they brought in a Trivium shirt and burned it in a big pile with some others in a parking lot. Gotta respect that.

Jon: Yup, I remember that. And then the people who turned in their Trivium shirts threw The Absence shirts in the garbage.

Sam: hahahahahahahaha

Trivium have never been my cup of tea. They always seemed like a band I might enjoy when described to me-bombastic guitar solos! Thrashy roots! That one guy is a pretty good vocalist! But every time they put out an album, I’d listen to half a song, decide I still don’t like them and put them away for another couple of years. This set was the longest exposure I’d had to Trivium thus far, and I’ll say, not wanting to put up with more than half a song made a set a little difficult. Between a muddy sound that drowned out nearly everything but vocals and kick drum and discovering that whoever told me they were thrash was full of shit (oh snap, harsh verses, clean choruses, so ingenious!), things got a little trying. The crowd was obviously into it, though; I think I saw more Trivium shirts than anything else at that show. The best part was honestly when I saw the Veil of Maya guitarist walk by and I stopped him to tell him he’s probably in the best band playing tonight. Oh yeah, and they played FOREVER. Like, an hour, which isn’t forever, but come on, this is Trivium. Around the half-hour mark I grew concerned when they showed no signs of stopping, but the 45-minute point prompted this:

Ben: TRIVIUM WON’T FUCKING STOP PLAYING

Jon: LOL

After Trivium left (and took a good third of the club with them, seriously?), In Flames took the stage. Though focusing mainly on newer material, they tossed in a couple classics, namely “Swim” from Clayman and “The Hive” from Whoracle. Outside of throwing the old-school fans a bone or two, In Flames is largely a different band than they were in the ‘90s, and I can respect that they’ve moved in a different direction, but it’s not for me. The band themselves were in good form, able to handle their set with aplomb (although it did make me notice how many of their songs involved bass breaks for four bars before guitars come back in), and the crowd enjoyed themselves. Considering that I wouldn’t have even remembered the show was happening had my friend not invited me for free, though, I wouldn’t have gone on my own, but your mileage may vary if you enjoy newer In Flames and the opening acts.

Bands: In Flames, Trivium, Veil of Maya

Date: 2/11/12

Score: Meh, it was free/5

P.S. Sorry there ain’t no pictures, I had pretty much zero advance notice I’d be going to this.