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In Flames/Soilwork/Chimaira/Unearth - Worcester, MA 6/28/03

Lets just start this article by saying that this is the first concert that I have been able to see since the NEMF last year (ironically also at the Palladium). Not that it really is important, but I've been a little out of the loop over the past 8-9 months with the metal scene. But I was really stoked to see both In Flames and Soilwork on the same night, so I drove my ass all the way to Worcester to catch this event.

I got there a few minutes late but still managed to catch most of Unearth's set. This happened to be quite a nice surprise, since when I remembered hearing Unearth off of a few mp3s, I didn't really care for them at all. However, I was quite impressed with their performance and intensity on stage. They play a style of hardcore that I must say is heavily influenced by the Gothenburg sound (think of a more hardcore sounding Darkest Hour).

Next up was Soilwork. Why they were on before Chimaira was beyond me, but nevertheless they still played about a 45 minute set. I guess the disappointing thing about the set was that nothing was played from Chainheart and only one song (Needlefeast) was played from A Predator's Portrait. I mean, how can they have a setlist without The Chainheart Machine? Its the perfect opener! But, being a fan of the newer material, they still played a great show. Soilwork has greatly improved their stage performance since the last time I saw them (NEMF 02) and that was nice to see. The highlights of their set were probably "Distortion Sleep" and "The Bringer". The clean vocals were a little hard to hear at times but that was my only gripe for the actual sound. And the clean vocals did sound better than in the past when you could hear them (ie: The Bringer).

Chimaira was up next and came out hard. I'll admit to being a casual fan of their newest album, though its nothing too special. They did have quite a stage presence however, which made their set fun to watch. Thankfully, they avoided songs that had the atrocious wannabe Alice in Chains sound to them.

In Flames finally hit the stage and boy was it worth it. I have seen In Flames twice in the past but this was by far their best performance I have seen! First off, they played 18 songs, with a nice mix of songs and not concentrating too much on simply the newer material (ie: Soilwork's set). As always, they were very energetic on stage, despite the heat in the Palladium at that point in the night. And despite all those that hate In Flames newer material, it sounds awesome live! "Trigger" was probably the highlight of the entire evening for me, as they had the audience singing the chorus, and hey, "Trigger" and "Black and White" (which was also played) are my two fave tracks from the Reroute album. A great plus was that Anders vocals were very audible this time, as opposed to the last few times I've seen them, where they were sometimes buried in the mix. Live staples "Episode 666" and "Behind Space" were also big highlights of the set. Their performance proved to me that In Flames are on top of their game right now, and have nowhere to go but up (I smell criticism coming now after that statement). Seriously, even if you disliked In Flames last few albums, don't miss the opportunity to catch this tour, you're in for a great time!

June 30, 2003
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