March 14, 2019 Within Temptation Bring Resistance To Denver, CO 3-11-19 w/ In Flames & Smash Into Pieces
With the Metal landscape vastly altering and molding through the ages, these days it is hard to navigate the terrain with so many sub-genres developing as fast as the information super highway can keep up. There are a few bands who have consistently shown it is not about the sub-genre, but about keeping the flame of Metal alive. Two of those bands are Netherland’s Within Temptation and Sweden’s In Flames, but the best part is, they are now touring together.
When word got out that Within Temptation and In Flames were touring together, some wondered ‘how this could happen?’ How could such vastly different bands go on the road together? However, both bands, staying true to their “do it your own way” attitude, went down the path less traveled and are now giving audiences one of the most unique billings this year. A North American run which sees Within Temptation acting as the headlining act in support of their recently released Resist album, In Flames join up as direct support, while Smash Into Pieces make their first ever appearance on this side of the Atlantic. Dubbed the Resist Tour, it kicked off February 28th in Baltimore and runs through March 19th in Los Angeles, but on Monday, March 11th, it came to Denver, Colorado just ahead of a blizzard that is currently barricading the city.
Playing the Summit Music Hall, up first was Swedish Rock band Smash Into Pieces. Their blend of Pop and Alternative Rock elements have made them a stand out and while being a relatively newer band they have already forged four albums and developed an image that has set them apart. Having just released their fourth album Evolver in 2018, it was a perfect time for American audiences to be introduced to them.
While they had a limited stage space to work with, Smash Into Pieces held back nothing in a series of high flying and none stop energy filled Guitarists in Benjo Jennebo and Per Bergquist. While most band’s image branding mascot is just that, a mascot, for Smash Into Pieces it is also the drummer. Named the Apocalypse DJ, he was an unhinged drumming machine. Together with Singer Chris Adam Hedman Sörbye this band had the audience in full swing, delivering a set their fans and new fans made won’t forget.
As fans geared up for round 2 with In Flames, they were not shy in letting the band know they were ready for them, chanting their name. Rewind a bit to 1990 in Gothenburg, Sweden, with In Flames starting their own path. Back then, Bjorn Gelotte (still currently in the band playing one crushing guitar) was the singer and the band’s sound was still very much in formation when releasing their first album in 1994, Lunar Strain, but there was always a sense of a band striving to change the playing field. It certainly did not take the band long to develop their approach, with the release of 1995’s The Jester Race and the addition of Anders Fridén to vocals, solidified the band’s ground work.
Through thirteen album releases the band’s sound evolved far beyond simply being considered Melodic Death Metal. Some gave the band a great deal of grief as their sound grew, but if one takes a step back they can see the band’s natural growth and direction from the older material to albums such as 2002’s Reroute to Remain, 2008’s A Sense of Purpose, and especially their most recent, 2019’s I,The Mask.
All this in mind, it didn’t take them long to get the headbanging festivities in motion with a newer track “Voices.” The album, I,Mask, may have only been delivered on March 1st, but with the way the crowd knew every word one would have thought it was out for some time.
One of the highlights of their set was seeing Chris Broderick (ex-Megadeth and current Act of Defiance guitarist) joining the lineup while filling in for Niclas Engelin. With absolutely no disrepect to the talented Engelin, Broderick’s guitar work added a whole new dimension to the music with his own touch and a dash of insane hair swinging didn’t hurt either. Coursing through tracks such as the classic “Pinball Map” and “Where The Dead Ships Dwell,” In Flames were a force to be reckoned with. Sounding great, one had to keep in mind that Fridén announced to the crowd he had woken up with the flu right before the show and yet still delivered such impactful vocals to the new track “I Am Above,” it should be a staple of their set. Overall, In Flames made the most of their time and gave fans a balanced set of old and new.
Last but certainly not least was none other than Within Temptation. Despite being ravaged from the In Flames set the crowd was not done and let Within Temptation know it. Since 1996 the Dutch Metal band have been establishing strong foundations on their own terms. Their 1997 debut album Enter saw the perfect emergence between Sharon Den Adel’s powerful vocals and Robert Westerholt’s guttural Death Metal vocals. While the band gained some success through the release and their 2000 sophomore release Mother Earth the band kicked the door in more formally with their third release, 2004’s The Silent Force.
Now having broke through the North American market, the band established itself as an undeniable force. While often labeled Goth Metal or Chick Metal band, they were anything but limited to such titles. Their compositions evolved to encompass so many parts of the metal and even at times outside of the genre all together, that one could never accurately lump them into a category. As for the “chick” part, one opportunity to see Sharon Den Adel unleashing her persona, voice, and headbanging skills it is clear there is nothing chick metal about her just Metal.
The band took their spots as Den Adel marched onto the stage clutching a flag of the band’s banner in hand, adorned in a white cloak, leaving the fans in awe. They kicked off their set with a track from their newest album Resist appropriately titled “Raise Your Banner.”
Moving through their set with a massive amount of energy, they mixed in older favorites including “Stand My Ground,” “The Heart of Everything,” and later, “What Have You Done.” Furthermore, when listening to new tracks such as “Supernova” or “The Reckoning,” it is hard to imagine that this is the album on which Sharon suffered from a serious case of exhaustion and struggled with writer’s block, as even live it is some their strongest material to date and a testament to the band’s endurance.
If the same old tours with predictable lineups is what your heart desires, this one is not the tour to see. However, if you are looking to be challenged to think outside the box, this is the one to see, and is sure to take every city remaining on the schedule by storm, even as Denver is now digging out of the one that followed.