NEW YORK, NY—It was a little over a month since I went to a show and I was getting pretty restless at this point. So after I interviewed In Flames drummer Daniel Svensson (which was in the Feb. 15 issue), I thought it’d only be fitting that I would check out the Swedes when they stopped at the Best Buy Theater in NYC. After a short walk from the Port Authority Bus Terminal and a couple street-corner hot dogs—which were delicious, as always—I arrived at the venue around 8:45 p.m.

I figured it was possible that show would sell out, but it didn’t seem likely. Upon walking in and being granted access to the reserved mezzanine section, however, I noticed that the floor in front of the stage was filled to capacity, as was the seating area in the back. The place was full and people were shoulder-to-shoulder all night.

Orlando-based metallers Trivium took the stage at 9 p.m. and the predominately male crowd was electric from the start. After the recording of “Capsizing The Sea” was played as an intro, the band jumped right into “In Waves,” the title-track from their most recent effort. Hard-hitting with thunderous drums from Nick Augusto, the gang wanted to get everyone into it early. Sporting boots and a sleeveless shirt, lead singer Matt Heafy showed that his voice was top-notch throughout most of the hour-long performance.

Off 2005’s Ascendancy, “Pull Harder On The Strings Of Your Martyr” followed. As the crowd-surfing was in full swing, Heafy and Corey Beaulieu complemented each other nicely on guitar. While some hits impressed such as “Forsaken” (due to a damn good solo from Beaulieu), others like “Departure” had a bit too much screaming for my liking. But nevertheless, fans were riled up to see Trivium, as many moshed from start to finish. Like so many others, I was stoked to see them play “Like Light To The Flies,” but I was a little let down by their performance of “Down From The Sky.” The guitars seemed much too low, the drums were way too loud and I thought the studio version was much better than this live one.

Trivium concluded their 10-song setlist with “Throes Of Perdition.” They played five songs off In Waves, and five from other albums. On the whole, they did a decent job but I definitely wasn’t blown away.

After a 20-minute break—which was just long enough to grab a few beverages—In Flames hit the stage. With the exception of Daniel Svensson, each member of the band came out with some badass beards. “Sounds Of A Playground Fading” kicked off their set and I was sucked in immediately. Vocalist Anders Fridén sounded great and while I feel like the group was unquestionably better with Jesper Strömblad, the guitar combo of Björn Gelotte and Niclas Engelin proved legit. “Deliver Us” and “All For Me” followed and sounded just like the album versions, containing smooth riffs and perfect solos. After a relatively quiet ovation, Fridén joked that they’re a hard-hitting metal band and not Kings Of Leon, which drew plenty of chuckles.

“Trigger” was the next track and it was one of their best. They reminded me of the In Flames with Jesper and while everything calmed down after the verses, they fucking exploded like sticks of dynamite during each chorus. After receiving a round of applause for “Alias,” Fridén mentioned that the band is like a fine wine—they get better with age.

While it wasn’t the most complex tune, Peter Iwers held down the fort on bass for “Only For The Weak.” Fridén was angry, fiery and zealous on “The Quiet Place,” and hit the high notes with ease. The same could be said for “Where The Dead Ships Dwell,” and you could really see how passionate he was while singing. Afterwards, he made everyone crack up when he told us that he was going to have their tour manager, Biffen, record us so that he could have something to jerk off to later.

The loudest song of the night, “Fear Is The Weakness,” was extremely melodic and followed up with the lighter “Come Clarity.” It was an intriguing mix. The rifftacular “Ropes” was next and it seemed even faster than the original. There wasn’t a sad face in the building when they dug further into their vast catalogue for “Cloud Connected,” which was easily a fan-favorite. Fridén appeared to be gassed by the time they played “The Mirror’s Truth” and the 17th and final number, “Take This Life,” but who can blame him?

In Flames put on an awesome show and I was really impressed with how good they sounded post-Jesper. Fridén was the man of the evening and did all he could to interact with the fans—like when he asked for a camera, got one, put it in his pocket and told the fan “that was stupid” before telling everyone in the audience to pose so that this guy would have a good picture. Everyone really seemed to enjoy the show; even the hot chick with purple hair who kept crowd-surfing and getting dropped a few times while taking it like a champ.

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