European metal bands Within Temptation and In Flames wrapped up their 2019 North American tour in Los Angeles last Tuesday at The Wiltern. Joining them was Swedish band Smash Into Pieces who put on a fantastic performance despite an unenthusiastic crowd.
As Smash Into Pieces began playing their set, the drummer’s mask lit up! A large LED wall projected various memes, images, and tour footage behind the drummer which made for a very entertaining show. At certain points, the drummer’s mask and the LED wall would sync up and show the same thing! Smash Into Pieces had a massive sound that filled the venue. Unfortunately, the backing track to their set seemed to drown out the other instruments. While their sound was awesome and I could easily see Smash Into Pieces play major festivals, the crowd didn’t seem very enthusiastic for the show. That being said, their on-stage presence was excellent as all of the musicians had very syncopated movements throughout the scattered breakdowns.
Having just released their thirteenth album ‘I, The Mask’, In Flames put on a fantastic performance at The Wiltern. The crowd exploded as In Flames opened with their new song “Voices.” To my surprise, the only songs that In Flames played from I, The Mask were “Voices,” “(This Is Our) House”, and “I Am Above.”
Unfortunately, the energy at this show was fairly low in comparison to previous In Flames shows. I believe this is due to the terrible layout of The Wiltern as well as In Flames’ setlist. The general admission pit separates the crowd into 3 or 4 sections disallowing the feeling of community in the crowd. Several circle pits started to form but quickly died out due to the lack of space. Anders Friden attempted to get the crowd hyped by waving their hands, but energy stayed fairly stagnant.
For the most part, In Flames played songs from their two most recent albums as well as ‘Siren Charms’ and ‘Sounds of a Playground Fading’. While these more recent songs still have the “In Flames sound,” the heaviness that was incorporated in older albums was somewhat lacking from their setlist. While talking to a fan in the crowd before the set, he told me that he was hoping IF would play “Take This Life” off of their 2006 album Come Clarity. Having seen the setlist beforehand, I was forced to break the news to him that they wouldn’t be playing this song. Luckily, the second to last song In Flames played was their hit song “Cloud Connected.” The energy in the venue definitely ramped up after this song, paving the way for Within Temptation next.
Within Temptation, the Dutch symphonic metal band concluded the tour with remarkable energy. Playing a sixteen song setlist spanning six albums, the energy skyrocketed once Within Temptation jumped on stage. Sharon den Adel’s beautiful mezzo-soprano voice echoed through the large venue, captivating the hearts and minds of Los Angeles. Hands and devil horns waved in the sky as the crowd sang the lyrics back to Sharon and the rest of the band.
Five songs were played from Within Temptation’s newest album ‘Resist’, while four songs came from their 2007 hit album The Heart of Everything. Approximately halfway through the set, an acoustic version of “Ice Queen” was played to a cheering crowd. The lights went out as Within Temptation concluded their set with the song “What Have You Done.” The crowd screamed, demanding an encore and they were generously rewarded.
Anders Fridén joined the rest of Within Temptation on stage singing their single, “Raise Your Banner,” which he is featured on. Finally, the long night of metal was coming to a close as Within Temptation played “Mother Earth” to finish off the wildly successful Resist Tour.