In Flames, Wovenwar and While She Sleeps sharing the stage on a Saturday night hands you a welcome free pass from Strictly X Factor and is about as far away as you can get from a quiet night in with a cup of cocoa.
US metallers Wovenwar cracked open the proceedings at Shepherd’s Bush Empire with a very solid set that could be described as almost melodic in comparison to what was about to follow. This San Diego combo delivered on all fronts, strong vocals, accomplished hard-hitting musicianship and just enough showboating to make them credible.
Then on shimmied While She Sleeps who were, quite frankly, a disappointment. Although metal is not always my cup of chai, I can appreciate it just the same as any heavily tattooed, black clad, pierced, devil horn throwing audience member when that shit is played righteous. This wasn’t.
Opting for near zero stage lighting is always a shake of the head in my book, especially when you try to give it large and your balls don’t match up to the bravado.
Throwing water over the press pit and whacking photographers with guitar necks didn’t even begin to disguise the ultra weak vocal performance and shoddy bass work. They simply didn’t have the minerals.Bringing on their little brother to throw lame devil horns poured more piss on the parade. I wished deep down that they would sacrifice him onstage to claw back a little respect, but sadly it wasn’t to be.
“You’re like you’re dead” was the shout to the crowd.
The crowd weren’t dead, you sent them to sleep because you were shite, sorry.
In Flames however were not shite and there was a country mile between them and WSS. I know there has to be some sort of sandwich filling, but this show would’ve tasted better with just the bread.
They quite rightly asked the now wide-awake audience to put down their assorted recording devices and to enjoy the show instead. After all, they could watch it back on YouTube when they got home.
Entering the fray with a blistering intro, In Flames demonstrated what an experienced metal band should sound like and cracked on without any bullshit. A relentless and satisfyingly full set drove the packed out auditorium into a frenzied whirl, ‘Cloud Connected’ particularly standing out amongst the playlist.
Leaving the venue with ultra wide smiles, the sweat drenched, boggle eyed, topless audience had been whipped and beaten to complete satisfaction by this award-winning Swedish metal storm.
Photos: Carl Byron Batson. Not to be reproduced without express prior permission.