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THE METAL OBSERVER - Review - IN FLAMES - The Tokyo Showdown

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In Flames - The Tokyo Showdown (7/10) - Sweden - 2001

Genre: Death Metal
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Playing time: 60:40
Band homepage: In Flames


  1. Bullet Ride
  2. Embody The Invisible
  3. Jotun
  4. Food For The Gods
  5. Moonshield
  6. Clayman
  7. Swim
  8. Behind Space
  9. Only For The Weak
  10. Gyroscope
  11. Scorn
  12. Ordinary Story
  13. Pinball Map
  14. Colony
  15. Episode 666
In Flames - The Tokyo Showdown

So, now the fan-favourites from Göteborg also have done it: an (official) live-album. Some might already turn in horror by the fact that it is me, who does the review, but even though I am really not a real fan of live-albums, I've been an avid supporter of the band ever since the original release of "Lunar Strain"!

The cover is a good start, the jester-mask over the silhouette of Tokyo and above it a Swedish and a Japanese flag. Then the CD into the player and a positive surprise (OK, not really surprise, because the number of 15 tracks already has been more than a hint): more than one hour of playing time. But the most important thing is still to come, the music.

Well, after I had been spoiled a little by the live-albums of HAGGARD and CREMATORY, I had been eager to hear how the Swedes would fare, after I had seen them live twice and know what they are capable of live. First off the track-list. Like we could expect (and a little fear) the acoustic journey into the land of the rising sun is rather a journey into the more recent past, while the brilliant "The Jester Race" is only featured with "Moonshield", while "Behind Space", originally taken from their debut "Lunar Strain" is an undecided one because of the re-recorded vision off "Colony".

OK, then let's look at performance of the band. Also like we could expect it is beyond any doubt. You hear in every moment that the quintet is together in this line-up for some years now, the musical cohesion is near-perfect, an ideal situation for a band and a live-album, I can tell you from my own experience, live IN FLAMES are top-notch.

So apart from the fact that the track-list is a little too fixated upon the new time (while I want to emphasize that each track absolutely deserves to be on this album, not that anybody misinterprets me here!) almost ideal conditions. What do we still have? Ah, the sound. It, too, is very good and transparent, each instrument has its place and clear sound, but without sliding off into sterility or slickness, everything has the right amount of scratch-brush to it, just like it has to be!

But there is something more, something that really sours this album. A live-concert needs fans. Sure, you hear that IN FLAMES are not alone at the venue, but the crowd-reactions are a single big disappointment to me. I know that the fans meet musicians with very much respect and so are rather, hm, reserved, but if you hear next to nothing from the fans and even Anders barely gets any (hearable) reactions, then I really have to ask, how much sense there is to record such an album in Japan. If I only think of the HAGGARD-fans in Mexico City...

Overall a very good live-album with a big flaw, next to no live-atmosphere. I'm sure that I will receive quite a beating, but when I want to listen to a live-album, then something like ICED EARTH in Greece, HAGGARD in Mexico or CREMATORY in Germany, something that gives you the feeling of attending the gig, not something like this!

Alexander Melzer

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