So, the other evening I was watching the History Channel when a two-hour program about the Dark Ages came on. I thought to myself, "Wow, I should really turn the sound down and put on some In Flames" — kinda like we did in college when we'd crank The Jesus Lizard while watching nature shows in which cheetahs would chase and then shred some hapless antelope. In Flames really is the perfect soundtrack to pillaging medieval hordes setting fire to villages and sticking townsfolk's heads on the ends of pikes, or bubonic plague sufferers coughing up blood and bits of pancreas while rats scurry around their soon-to-be-rotting bodies. Formed in Sweden in 1990 by guitarist Jesper Strömbland — who was unhappy about the musical direction of his other scary death-metal band, Ceremonial Oath — In Flames has evolved into a battering ram of thrash and metalcore, with plenty of bloodcurdling screams and quasi-Cookie Monster growls, and the occasional nod to the classic melodic metal of Maiden and Priest. A favorite on the Ozzfest/Gigantour circuit in recent years, In Flames is currently touring behind this year's A Sense of Purpose, the band's ninth disc. Dunno what they'll have in the way of visuals, but their tunes will probably have you thinking of rampaging barbarians in no time.
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