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Five Finger Death Punch/In Flames/Of Mice And Men at Wembley arena - live review

Live Review

Venue: Wembley arena, London

A triumvirate of arena-sized titans descends upon London

It's bizarrely apt, considering the season, that rock’n’roll’s own Holy Trinity of modern melody makers have embraced a packed congregation of devout faithful at Wembley Arena. OF MICE & MEN [7] initiate tonight’s rowdy sermon with a charismatic slice of brash metalcore. Still fresh off losing ex-frontman Austin Carlile, the group appear to have seamlessly adjusted into their new standing as a four-piece, led now by bassist/singer Aaron Pauley. While the loss of a mobile lead vocalist has resulted in much less onstage movement than usual, crowd-exploding moments like the angst driven aggression of Pain and the arena-wide jumping caused by The Depths make this a true triumph of an opener.

Swedish veterans IN FLAMES [8] have the set-up of a headliner, providing visual treats like massive LED screens and a gigantic Jester mascot. It takes a couple of songs for this old-school melodeath outfit to wholly connect with their onlookers, but once usual set-closer Take This Life makes an unusually early appearance, the circlepits refuse to stop. Despite the raucous reaction to such classics as Drifter, material from In Flames’ newer, alternative metal-inspired phase dominates tonight. However, the group’s raw and energised performance, not least from frontman Anders Fridén, gives tracks like Save Me and The End a truly timeless sheen.

FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH [9] bring the bombast, their blend of groove-fuelled heaviness and rocking choruses making their hard-hitting anthems perfect for a crowd as enormous as this. As Lift Me Up begins proceedings, tonight’s crowd bubbles with excitement, only upping as the band roll through Wash It All Away. Aaron Pauley and Bad Wolves’ Tommy Vext join in for Ain’t My Last Dance, aiding the concert’s theme of frontman Ivan Moody’s post-breakdown redemption, which peaks mid-set when everyone bar he and guitarist Jason Hook leaves the stage. The duo lay out three acoustic numbers, which Ivan dedicates to his fans and bandmates; judging by the audience’s response, all is forgiven. A party atmosphere returns as Coming Down sees Five Finger Death Punch reunite in full force, soon complemented by the sheer catharsis of Jekyll and Hyde and Under and Over It. By the time The Bleeding has wrapped up, there isn’t a metalhead in sight that hasn’t been swept up by tonight’s extravaganza of heavy riffs and catchy singalongs.

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