Live Reviews

LIVE REVIEW: In Flames, Norma Jean, Light The Torch, SWG3, Glasgow, 03/04/2019

Touring in support of their latest album I, The Mask, Swedish metallers In Flames graced UK soil for a run a headline shows, bringing Norma Jean and Light The Torch along for the ride. We ventured down to the Glasgow show for a night of riffs and mosh pits.

The pedigree of the members of Light The Torch might class them a supergroup, but the songs aren’t there yet. Slightly disappointing when you consider they do essentially have three albums under their belt at this point. Instrumentally the performances are great, and Howard Jones remains one of the best frontmen in the game, but the special little spark that really sets songs alight just isn’t there unfortunately. The fact they’re on so early doesn’t help, most people not even realising the doors were so early. 6/10

Norma Jean also suffer tonight. Maybe it’s jetlag, maybe it’s their particular brand of noisy, skronky post-hardcore doesn’t work in rooms this big; but again the performance never quite kicks off, except for a truly stunning rendition of closer Deathbed Atheist. It’s a shame, because this band are usually great and have a back catalog most of their peers would envy, but for whatever reason they never quite become the unified wrecking force they’ve been known to be. 6/10

In contrast, In Flames are a wrecking force from the second they hit the stage. They might be a legacy band at this point, but they still play with all the ferocity and joy of a band with the bit between their teeth in their prime. In this case, age and experience makes for a near flawless performance, instead of sapping it of energy.

If there is a flaw tonight, it’s the set-list. It’s a purely subjective view, but In Flames best and most revered material spans from 1995’s The Jester Race to 2008’s A Sense of Purpose. Tonight only seven or so songs from the 19-song set come from that era. Stalwart classics like Only for The Weak and Trigger are conspicuous by their absence tonight, though Pinball Map, the  eight minute album track epic The Chosen Pessimist, unexpected old school throwback Colony and their later day anthem My Sweet Shadow do a lot to appease those yearning for the past.

It’s rare for a band to last this long, and it’s even rarer for them to maintain a fanbase who still enjoy their new music. Latest album I, The Mask might lack the creative flair revolutionary style of their classic material, but a lot of the crowd are ready and eager for these songs. Singalongs, mosh pits and crowd surfers punctuate every song from the second they start until the ring out’s fade. The band’s rapport with the crowd is also admirable, few bands are this authentic and good natured so late into their career.

Creatively, arguably In Flames best days are behind them, but live…they’re still a premiere force to be reckoned with. 9/10

Written by: Calum McMillan

Photos by: Calum McMillan