Review: In Flames & Kreator @ The Tivoli (Brisbane)

In Flames (pictured) and Kreator played The Tivoli (Brisbane) on 18 February, 2024 - image © Clea-marie Thorne
With an insatiable passion for live music and photography adventures, this mistress of gig chronicles loves the realms of metal and blues but wanders all musical frontiers and paints you vibrant landscapes through words and pics (@lilmissterror) that share the very essence of her sonic journeys with you.

In Flames and Kreator fans gathered to witness both bands perform their final sets of the 'Klash Of The Titans' tour at Brisbane's The Tivoli (18 February).

As I lay eyes on the stage, I can't help but be excited. There are two figures either side of stage in red robes impaled high on wooden stakes. Mid-stage there are more red-robed figures hanging by their necks. Behind the drum kit and riser is a blown-up three-dimensional bust of Violent Mind, Kreator's mascot. Woot!

As the lights dim, the stage props take on a more realistic form as the swirls of fog create an eerie spectacle. The instrumental 'Sergio Corbucci Is Dead' from Creator's 2022 album 'Hate Uber Alles' is playing, adding to the dark and delicious vibe.

Sporadic lights illuminate Violent Mind as well as the staked and hanging dead clad in red robes in sweeping arcs of light much like search lights. Are they looking for lost souls?

Kreator - image © Clea-marie Thorne

This acoustic recital in this ambience perfectly conveys its name's sake with its spaghetti western tones and strong undercurrents mimicking the rebellious essence of the films Corbucci directed. I can't be the only one feeling like we're standing in the middle of a scene directed by the Italian master?!

The intro concludes as shadowy figures move on the darkened stage. Guitars start us off with the title track from their 'Hate Uber Alles' album. A few seconds in and Jürgen 'Ventor' Reil (drums) is reminding us how we adore the double kick of this metal genre.

Pulling out the big guns early with another fan favourite, next is 'People Of The Lie' and despite the lyrics being about the spread of hate, it's only a love of thrash metal being tossed about in this room tonight.

Kreator - image © Clea-marie Thorne

While Miland 'Mille' Petrozza's vocals have evolved over his long career, he is proving without question that his pipes are capable of matching the vehemence and style of the original recording, and that his commanding voice still holds sway over his fans as he instructs them to split the mosh.

'Enemy Of God' builds a real frenzy in the pit with its ferocious speed and killer breakdown that's solidly backed up by 'Betrayer' before the sound of funeral bells warn us that 'Satan Is Real'.

Fans of the album 'Gods Of Violence' lose their minds as am I, as Sami Yli-Sirniö (guitar) is attempting to destroy his strings while tearing up the fretboard during the solo. I'd love to see the devil attempt a guitar dual with this axe god – Satan would lose!

Kreator receive the message Brisbane has been hungry for their music as punters chant: "Welcome back! Welcome back!" Petrozza takes this opportunity to tell us to get mental for 'Hordes Of Chaos'. Obeying their master of thrash, the mosh dwellers and outliers band together to scream and head-bang in gleeful chaos for '666 - World Divided'.

Kreator - image © Clea-marie Thorne

At the end of 'Phantom Antichrist', Petrozza dedicates 'Strongest Of The Strong' to In Flames as well as all the metal heads who have come to the shows, especially those in Brisbane. Of course, there are shouts of approval as manic moshing ensues.

The dedications do not end there – it's time for us old-school metal heads to help raise the vibrations as Petrozza raises the 'Flag Of Hate' inciting cheer-off competition between punters to the left and those to the right. Once again calling for a circle pit, the moshers give him one that matches the savage and raging sonic sounds of their next song 'Violent Revolution'.

Our final, nostalgic treat is getting my hardcore stamp of approval. As Petrozza bids us farewell, he tells us they will see us again next time – or did he say in the next life? Either way, I will be there and with that they close out with 'Pleasure To Kill' from nearly 40 years ago.

Kreator - image © Clea-marie Thorne

Well, if this isn't making me feel old it certainly is making me feel blessed! That is, blessed to be alive, to be here in the moment and witnessing a live version, for what could even be the last time. A set filled with an absolute intensive energy, the thrash metal pioneers again validated their ability to perform a show that is totally lit.

So lit in fact, die-hard fans who came to the venue prepared to be as brutal in their moshing and vocal interactions are left all but roasted and with toasted throats as they've gone hard to match the energy of the fiery performance of Kreator! Insane is what it is, considering that in only a short while In Flames will unleash their set upon us!

Anticipation is building with every click of the stage clock. Finally a taped recording of 'The Beginning Of All Things That Will End' signals the start of In Flame's set who are met with a thunderous roar as they bust out 'Foregone Pt. 1' that rages towards the melodic solo.

The lads then unleash a musical fury and lyrical musings of disconnect and dissension of self with 'Pinball Map' that comes at us like a demolition ball before it crushes with a killer bridge. 'Deliver Us' is followed by 'Everything's Gone' – after being told by Anders Fridén "you're too quiet Brisbane!" the pit punters did us proud by ramping it up to prove him wrong.

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In Flames - image © Clea-marie Thorne

Now I get a personal favourite, 'Paralyzed'. It sounds so much bigger live, even sneaking in even some dirty bass tones. Fridén's vocals gives me goosebumps as his voice soars throughout the venue – you sense just how deep the pit of emotion is from which he pulls that last scream from.

The beautiful lull at the start of 'All For Me' gently draws us into a hard rock, pummelling sonic assault of frustration before the crowd are fired up for the classic banger from the first In Flames album, 'Behind Space' (1994's 'Lunar Strain').

Fridén introduces it by telling us that album is brilliant and how inspirational Kreator was to him back in the day. We're also told how important it is to "keep your dream alive" as they have done.

Fridén follows with a warning that this is the last night of the tour and if they're going to come back to Australia that "it is up to you motherf...ers! So lose your minds!" Hands go up chanting the song in as the mosh becomes a giant-sized unbalanced washing machine.

Among the crowd surfers are a couple of frequent flyers – these enthusiasts surf to the front, claim a fist pump from Fridén before exiting with goofy grins only to bolt back to the pit to trounce around while seeking another leg up to do it all again! Hardcore or what?!

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In Flames - image © Clea-marie Thorne

This time Fridén stops to give a suggestion. "This is not a rule..." to stop looking at the little black screen, put our phones away and enter the circle pit. He then promises: "It'll be the most fun you can have." Not to let the energy subside from the dialogue for one moment longer, we are fed 'Food For The Gods' and the insanity continues throughout 'Only For The Weak'.

'Cloud Connected' is next and leaves fans in a state of pure ecstasy that transforms into a fixated rapture with 'The Quiet Place'. Since these classic tracks were released, In Flames have diversified their sound and gained other fans along the way.

However, in recent years the band have returned to integrate some of the ingredients from those old recipes that started them, and it has had us old schoolers falling fist over head-bang for them all over again! 'State Of Slow Decay' is one of those recent tracks to get a sprinkling of that old-school flavour.

In Flames have had such an influence on bands that followed them they can claim the label of metalcore pioneers without contest as well as vendors of their Swedish brand of melodic death metal.

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In Flames - image © Clea-marie Thorne

'Alias' and 'The Mirror's Truth' highlight the gorgeous intertwining of melody and roiling aggression before we get two more metal bliss bombs – 'I Am Above' and 'Take This Life' that close out the set.

Chris Broderick (guitar), who previously played with Megadeth, has not only been a complimentary addition to the In Flames recordings, but added a spice that is moreish and worthy of the shred devotion he's receiving from fans tonight. The dude shows us that outside of the studio he is even more of a metal-bending machine, and his dual solos with the very talented Björn Gelotte has fans all over the venue cheering them on.

Horns are being thrown towards the stage as their owners are screaming their heads off! Liam Wilson (bass) and Tanner Wayne (drums) have clicked together like magnets and kept it tight. Wayne has been relentless on the tubs all freaking night.

In Flames gave a set list that spanned many albums especially from their earlier years which has delighted the OGs in the crowd, while reinforcing they have so much more energy in reserve to commit to fans.

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In Flames - image © Clea-marie Thorne

The mutual appreciation for the intensity, technical instrumentation and vocal prowess was given ear-splitting cheers for both bands. While the instrumental and vocal styles of Kreator and In Flames is different, and they're labelled under differing genres because of it, our rotating headliners have united their purist fans.

What evolved tonight for the punters leaving the venue after feasting on a hammering show of two metal titans was not so much as a 'k-clash' like the tour name suggests, but in contrast a unified experience exposing us to a much broader live experience than if we were to attend a single headliner show.

This combination has been nothing short of a transcendent musical experience. Punters can certainly cash in on the extreme sense of unity and metal camaraderie left hanging in the air inside The Tivoli.

There are cathartic expressions on the faces of punters showing how they have revelled in this shared experience of unbridled and bone-crushing sonic fury. Can I get a hallelujah? Or better still, a full metal " hell yeah!".

More photos from the concert.

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