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Admirals - Amidst the Blue

Sometimes it helps to not be very good.

Some of the best albums and artists were born out of happy accidents owed to varying degrees of early suckage — the perfect note or chord for a song found by missing the one you are aiming for, failed mimicry of an idol bearing something entirely new and great instead.

07/09/2014 | Comments 0

Kierston White - Don't Write Love Songs

The Tequila Songbirds have become just as beloved as about any group around these parts. And how could they not?

Featuring a revolving cast of the Sooner State’s most badass female performers, it’s a power hour of some of the best songwriting coming out of central Oklahoma. Sure, they might not technically be family, but they are clearly a band of sisters all the same, bonded by the same brand of whiskey running through their veins.

07/01/2014 | Comments 0

Depth & Current - Dysrhythmia

"Overproduced" is a term thrown around all too indiscreetly nowadays, usually applied when the thing that sticks out about a song or album is how it sounds rather than how it is constructed. Yet some of the most compelling albums ever crafted embodied a certain aesthetic that was just as skillfully and meticulously put together as any Bob Dylan or Miles Davis record — which is to say production is as crucial to our enjoyment of music as much as anything else; it's also the most overlooked.
06/24/2014 | Comments 0

Weak Knees - “IceBevo”

Indie rock has been in a good place as of late. Not caring about being cool is the new cool, and a couple of dudes on guitar, bass and drums can make catchy, earworm songs without being armed to the gills with computer software and vintage synthesizers.
06/17/2014 | Comments 0

Kyle Reid & the Low Swinging Chariots - “When I Was Young”

Every artist should be the star of their own creative life, which makes Kyle Reid’s steps out of the shadows of the many ensembles and supporting roles he has played in Oklahoma bands over the years to front and center on stage feel like a just journey.
06/17/2014 | Comments 0
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Music
 

Flame on!


Scandinavian import In Flames brings precious metal to the madness of the Mayhem Festival.

Joshua Boydston August 3rd, 2011

Mayhem Festival featuring In Flames, Disturbed, Megadeth Godsmack, and more
12:30 p.m. Tuesday
OKC Zoo Amphitheatre
2101 N.E. 50th
zooamp.com, 364-3700
$42-$52

UPDATE: Due to a terminal illness in one of the band-member's family, In Flames will not be performing at Mayhem Festival.

It’s hard to think of a more cheerful place than Scandinavia. With all its blondes, free health care and cheap/ trendy furniture, it’s heaven on earth in many ways.

The bulk of the music coming from there is equally bright and upbeat, whether the disco anthems of ABBA, the indie ballads of Peter Bjorn and John, or the frenetic rock hooks of The Hives. Swedish alt-metal group In Flames may be an exception in that regard, but its members enjoy the positive environment and political climate otherwise.

Then comes the sobering reminder that tragedy can strike in the most peaceful of places.

“We were in shock,” drummer Daniel Svensson said of the July 22 attacks in Oslo, Norway. “We’ve always been so blessed in Scandinavia, and you don’t think of things like that happening there. It’s the worst thing since the second World War for us. I feel so bad for everyone involved, and it’s scary that it happened so close to home for us.”

In Flames’ preference for metal wasn’t born from despair or tragedy, but a simple affection for the heavy riffs of Metallica and Megadeth. Like-minded individuals across the region found each other, and with support from the community around them, In Flames and others formed the Swedish/Scandinavian death-metal scene in the late ’80s and early ’90s.

“Back in those days, the climate for people to perform music was really good,” Svensson said. “The government is really supportive when it comes to cultural things in general. I think that’s the thing that allowed that to grow.”

The five-piece quickly became a hugely influential force in metal, and soon helped pioneer the melodic metalcore subgenre that gave rise to bands like As I Lay Dying and Trivium, the latter of which will appear with In Flames at Tuesday’s Mayhem Festival. In Flames enjoys a godlike status in certain circles, but that doesn’t mean that haven’t learned things along the way.

“We have really tried to start making songs live-friendly,” Svensson said.

“We want to be able to perform the whole thing, as it was intended, live, and that’s become something we always think about. Some of the early songs don’t sound good live.”

Despite the venerable position to which the group has ascended, it is able to approach recording with the same vigor.

“You don’t think about expectations or people being inspired by you. It’s flattering, but it doesn’t put more pressure on us,” Svensson said. “The only pressure we have comes from ourselves, and we just want to keep putting out better and better albums.”

He feels the act did just that with its tenth and latest album, “Sounds of a Playground Fading,” the first released without founding member Jesper Strömblad.

“His departure didn’t affect the recording in a bad way, I don’t think. This is by far the best-sounding album we’ve ever recorded, production-wise,” Svensson said. “It’s also the album we spent the most time working on. We didn’t have a deadline, so we just worked every detail of every song. I think it totally paid off.”

 
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