Alcatraz Line up: 2018
Despite being vilified by a portion of the early, die-hard fans on a few occasions throughout their quarter century existence, In Flames weathered the storm and continued to exhilarate legions of metal fans worldwide. It would have been so much easier to ride the wave of popularity they enjoyed as one of the trailblazers of the Gothenburg melodic death metal sound but instead they allowed their music to evolve. As a result, In Flames are the textbook example of a band who have remained true to their vision regardless of the implications and inspired numerous other acts along the way. By 2002’s ‘Reroute to Remain’, their sound had gravitated from early melodic death metal towards more alternative metal, a move that alienated some of the older fans while boosting album sales and allowing them to break into the mainstream. ‘Come Clarity’ (2005) features In Flames at their scorching best with a perfect blend of their newfound accessibility and the band’s innate aggression. On ‘Sounds of a Playground Fading’ (2011) the unclean vocals had all but gone and the tracks themselves were clever, bite size servings that appealed specifically to the young(er) metal fans that were now their main demographic. On their 12th studio album ‘Battles’ (2016), Anders Fridén & friends once again explore virgin territory with modern, groove-laden metal tracks, thanks in large part to the singalong choruses and the stellar, genre-defying solos. Memorable riffs and Fridéns emotional delivery help turn ‘Battles’ into a musical rollercoaster that keeps the listener gasping for breath from start to finish. Inciting and infectious as hell, their heaviest album in years starts the band along a very promising and commercially viable path that illustrates why In Flames are starting to capture headlining slots usually reserved for the likes of Maiden, Metallica or Slipknot. In 2015 the unofficial crowdsurfing record was shattered during an In Flames performance. Sounds like a fun challenge for the metal inmates at the Alcatraz prison grounds….