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JAXX; West Springfield, VA; November 28, 2000

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

What could be more fun that seeing In Flames in concert? Since I couldn't think of anything more fun to do I went to see In Flames for the second time this year and third time in the last 12 months.

I'd seen show openers Burn It Down just ten days earlier; still it was a bit of a surprise to see the band's intelligent metalcore on a bill like this. Burn It Down's smart melding of hardcore and metal came across pretty well given the fact that the audience probably could have cared less if Burn It Down hadn't played at all. The audience provided polite applause throughout their set. Sadly, however, Burn It Down broke up two days after this show.

I was fortunate to see Shadows Fall before the release of "Of One Blood" back in March 2000 while the hype machine was just getting started and the underground buzz was beginning to boil. However, I was still very thrilled to see Shadows Fall now that I'd fully digested "Of One Blood" and enjoyed listening to it immensely. As expected, tight performances were in order and Shadows Fall proved to me that they are just as good in the live setting as they are in the studio. Anyone could see that there was great anticipation by many in the audience for the Shadows Fall set as the crowd responded immediately when the band hit the stage. Likewise, Shadows Fall gave a spirited performance. At one point, vocalist Brian Fair was so frenzied he accidentally smacked his head into one of the monitors mid-song; neither he nor the band missed a beat despite everyone getting a few laughs out of it (Fair included!).  This performance, in my eyes, was better than their coming-out party at the second March Metal Meltdown. 

As a recent convert to Nevermore's brand of power metal I was looking forward to seeing the band live. Nevermore played a short, yet very energetic set. Nevermore focused on songs from the new CD "Dead Heart In A Dead World," including "Narcosynthesis," "Disintegrate," "Inside 4 Walls." "The River Dragon Has Come," and the title track. Nevermore played older material like "This Sacrament" and "The Fault Of The Flesh" much to the fans' enjoyment. Warrel Dane apologized for the relatively short set, but he was quick to point out that Nevermore will be doing a headlining tour of the states in Winter 2001. Nevermore, no doubt, will play an expanded set that will include not only more songs, but songs from the band's entire catalog.

There really isn't much more that I can say about In Flames that I haven't already said in my two previous live reviews of the band. However, what made this evening special was that I knew I was in for a good set. In November 1999 I didn't really know any of In Flames' material, but was still awed by the intensity and precision of the In Flames performance. In August 2000 I was cheated out of a full performance as In Flames' set was shortened to seven songs due to the 'festival' nature of the gig. 

Tonight, however, would be a different story. I know the material and I knew there would be nothing to prevent In Flames from playing well over an hour. In Flames ripped through fourteen songs covering every aspect of their recorded history over a seventy-minute set that rarely gave anyone a chance to catch their breath. 

"Behind Space," "Embody The Invisible," "Food For The Gods," and "Clayman" got the set off in blistering fashion before In Flames went back to the early days for a stunning rendition of "Clad In Shadows." Anders got the crowd to smile by saying that the crowd's response was 'almost like Gothenburg, almost like home - but no cigar!" It's nice to see Anders' English improving and his interactions with the audience becoming more frequent and jovial.

In Flames continued their mesmerizing intensity with "Scorn." For those paying attention, "Scorn" included brief snippets of Slayer riffs - Jesper and Bjorn had Cheshire grins while working this insightful manipulation.

"Bullet Ride," "Coerced Coexistence," "Episode 666," "Ordinary Story," "Pinball Map," and "Colony" finished the set to rousing applause and gratitude.

It was also Jesper's birthday this evening which means the three times I've seen In Flames it has also been one of the band member's birthdays - what are the odds of that happening? 

Overall, the sound wasn't as good as the show I'd caught at Nation back in August, but you learn to take the good with the bad. JAXX is a great place to see a show and things went smoothly for all the bands. Hail to JAXX for being a great venue for metal!

Hail to Chris and Kirk - the new metal brotherhood has begun!

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Copyright 2000 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 06 Oct 2019 11:48:56 -0400.