With the news that Chris Broderickwill continue to fill in for In Flames guitarist Niclas Engelin, Act of Defiance has dropped off their upcoming tour with Death Angel. Conscious of the disappointing news, Broderick posted to the Act of Defiance Facebook with a message to fans. AOD continues to tour in support of 2017’s Old Scars, New Wounds album, and are working on a follow-up, due from their label Metal Blade in 2020. Continue reading
In Flames is a band, much like most of the daring few whoever made ground-breaking original art, that seems to be judged forever for their earliest success. While it’s true that that have departed from their original pioneering “Gottenburg sound” of melodic death metal, they are certainly never dull and always capable of solid releases with memorable songs. The chorus of angry, arms-crossed dudes that say “I don’t listen to those guys anymore” will always get drowned out by the die-hards, many whom the band picked up as they exploded in popularity. Once you get past the old narrative of the band that escaped beyond what was narrow sub-genre with four good bands, you can appreciate their entire career arc, which is still evolving on their new album, I, The Mask (Eleven Seven Music Group). Continue reading
Not content with plying his trade with one major label band, guitarist Niclas Engelin, who stepped into the Jesper Strömblad sized hole in the In Flames line up on a permanent basis in 2011, teams up with long-standing partner in crime Marcus Sunesson (ex-The Crown) for Raven Kings(Gain/Sony), the fourth installment of his near-eponymous band Engel, and his stamp, and that of his day job, is all over this new release.
Engel are keen to show that the metal does indeed flow in their veins, and the decision to kick the album off with two ragers works from a dynamic point of view, particularly considering the exemplary production job undertaken by Jacob Hansen (Volbeat), although the decision to utilize new vocalist Mikael Sehlin’s harsher tones at the onset of the album instantly draw comparisons with Anders Friden, which for a side project that are not a million miles away from the furrows being ploughed by his other band, is potentially too thin an ice to be stomping army boots on.
Where they do come into their own, though, is as the album progresses and the bands’ keen ear for a hook is accentuated and highlighted, be it riff, groove, vocal melody or chorus that provides it, this is an album full of catchy moments and Soilwork-ed passages, with Sehlin operating much more effectively in the melodic ranges, sounding not too dissimilar to Sebastian Bach’s more Slave-ish moments, and with a power and tone reminiscent of Chris Jericho.
While the band have termed themselves Melodic Death Metal there is no escaping that the core sound of Engel is intrinsically close to that of In Flames, particularly as electronic and “industrial” nuances fleck both the Jester’s and this ancillary outfits’ sound these days, or that the term “Death” in that descriptor is a bit of a red herring. Yes, their hooky song-based modern metal (I’m loathe to add the word core on the end as it almost by default detracts from what they produce) is heavy without resorting to ultra beatdowns to bring the weight, but it is in the melodic and the catchy where they thrive, as, ultimately, Raven Kings is a worthy release of contemporary, commercial metal.
Engel on Facebook
In Flames, minus the rhythm section, had a very intimate listening party for their new album Siren Charms (RED/Sony Music Germany), which took place in Manhattan NYC at The Bowery Electric, just across the street from where CBGB’s once stood. The evening started off with a few spins of their new album. After an hour so of mingling and a lot of free drinks, singer Anders Friden, along with guitarists Bjorn Gelotte and Niclas Engelin took to the stage. In between drinks and clearly nervous laughter, Anders commented about them never before doing something like this. All awkwardness aside, playing an acoustic set seems like the next logical step in the ever evolving world of In Flames.
Supported by only an ambient backing track, they started what turned into a two-song mini set with ‘Dead Eyes’ from Siren Charms. Anders sounded possibly even more powerful on the chorus on this rendition of the tune. They continued the show with the lead single off the new album, ‘Through Oblivion’. It sounds a lot more eerie this way and I’m having a tough time not hearing it this way again. These songs fit extremely well within the acoustic realm, the right songs for the right occasion. It was very short and pretty freaking sweet. Perhaps they will do it again…
WORDS AND PHOTOS BY OMAR CORDY