14.12.2022 Orbit Culture, Imminence, At The Gates, & In Flames @ Helsingin Jäähalli, Helsinki

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Okay, even though there is a neighborly rivalry going on between Finland and Sweden, we have to admit that, when it comes to melodic death metal, these guys have a very distinct sound and some of the most legendary bands. One of those is undeniably IN FLAMES. The Swedes teamed up with a few other acts from – you guessed it – Sweden, and as a result, on December 14th, 2022, we were able to witness a metal feast, featuring ORBIT CULTURE, IMMINENCE, AT THE GATES, and IN FLAMES. Don’t forget to check out the full gallery as well.

Admittedly, one of the reasons I decided to go see this show was because it was scheduled on my birthday, but also… the supporting act, ORBIT CULTURE. Founded in 2013, these guys have become one of the top-tier up-and-coming modern metal acts from Sweden in recent years. Having not seen them prior to this show, it presented a unique opportunity to get a glimpse of their live set. With five songs to play, the band’s setlist was unfortunately on the short end of the spectrum, however, they were able to present a lot of different sides to their sound in the span of half an hour, with the climax being their latest track, “Vultures of North.” They also gathered a surprisingly large crowd in a country where not everybody comes out to see the support act!

IMMINENCE was a band that I wasn’t all too familiar with, despite having a little bit of a feeling that their music wouldn’t be exactly my cup of tea – I am not the biggest consumer of metalcore music. It was a surprise when the singer whipped out a violin at some point during the show and started to play it, which is ultimately what sold me on the fact that, despite not being my kind of genre, this band is really enthralling to watch play live. Altogether, they played a very dynamic set with a variety of songs, but the song that I will probably end up listening to most in the future is “Chasing Shadows,” which really stood out. Altogether, while this band maybe felt a bit out of place in the whole lineup, it was a very interesting addition and admittedly, it was also nice to have a little variety in all performances of the evening; altogether IMMINENCE did an excellent job and I’d recommend anyone to see their shows in the future.

Finally, the second part of the evening could begin, as the remaining bands were both of substantial influence to the melodic death metal genre as a whole. Having seen AT THE GATES a few times before, this was the first time that I knew precisely what to expect and they surely didn’t disappoint. Admittedly, I am not too well-versed on their entire discography, but I was pretty excited that for once most of the material on the setlist was familiar. The band played ten tracks, of which most were off “At War with Reality” and “Slaughter of the Soul.” The latter in particular is something that fans responded to very well, since it’s some of their most classic material.

Swedish melodeath act IN FLAMES are only releasing their new album, “Foregone,” in January 2023, so the evening’s setlist was a huge mystery to me. Despite starting off with a new song, “The Great Deceiver,” IN FLAMES brought some nostalgia to the event by including “Pinball Map,” “Cloud Connected,” and “Behind Space” early on in the set. This suggested that the band would absolutely not focus so much on newer material, but would play an homage to their entire back catalog, which turned out to be exactly what the band had in store for us!

The band chose a more minimalistic production, there was no backdrop with their logo, but instead, a riser had the drummer and keyboardist, and on the ceiling were a bunch of extra cool lights, which meant that this performance had an incredibly beautiful and well-thought-out light show. The focus was a lot more on their actual music than on all the extra gimmicks, which is something we heavily appreciate.

A good mix of songs with a good dramatic arc was presented and the audience ate it up and fully embraced IN FLAMES. I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed a crowd so dedicated to the cause before that night. Before “The Hive,” singer Anders Fridén‘s banter took a weird turn, as he proclaimed Finland the nation of crowdsurfing – in my almost 10 years of living here, I have only seen one stranded crowdsurfer here. Yet, I noticed during the song, a few daredevils decided it’s time to risk it and let’s just say, we were glad to be seated. Altogether, the atmosphere was pretty nice, with fans cheering and shouting loudly in between the songs.

Classics like “Colony” and “Only for the Weak” were especially activating. It was also interesting to see at least three new tracks, “Foregone Pt. 1,” “State of Slow Decay,” and “The Great Deceiver,” which ultimately showed that IN FLAMES still have the capability to write insane live tracks. Admittedly, we were a little surprised that only one track from their latest album, “I Am Above,” made the cut, but were very happy that it was “I Am Above,” considering it works really well live. The strong set ended with “Take This Life,” a moment that came too soon for many faces in the audience. This lineup was an excellent offering of melodic metal, as all four of these bands represented something different on the spectrum.

Written by Laureline Tilkin
Photos by Janne Puronen

Setlist

  1. The Great Deceiver
  2. Pinball Map
  3. Cloud Connected
  4. Behind Space
  5. Graveland
  6. The Hive
  7. Colony
  8. Only For The Weak
  9. Leeches
  10. Foregone pt1
  11. Wallflower
  12. State of Slow Decay
  13. Alias
  14. Mirror’s Truth
  15. I am Above
  16. Take This Life