“It’s called the ‘Forged in Fire’ tour but I might call it the ‘Make Metal Great Again’ tour,” joked In Flames frontman Anders Friden regarding the recent election. Swedish metal act In Flames are touring the States in support of their new album Battles, along with co-headliners Hellyeah and opening acts From Ashes to New and Source. The tour made a stop at PlayStation Theater in the heart of Times Square in New York City on Wednesday, Nov. 16.

In Flames unleashed their set with an old favorite “Bullet Ride” off of Clayman, released 15 years ago. They went into the more melodic “Where Dead Ships Dwell,” and whether fans were old school or appreciated newer material, the energy in the venue heightened with each song.

Each member was engaging to the enthusiastic fans, who were introduced to new drummer Joe Rickard (Red, Islander, Starset and more). Friden’s friendly banter about beer and picking on guitarist Bjorn Gelotte for drinking Bud Light turned into a PSA to support local breweries. Another memorable moment was Friden pulling a fan up onstage to help belt out “Only for the Weak.”

Their set included a couple of new tracks, “The End” and “The Truth,” off of Battles. With a diverse catalogue spanning nearly 25 years it’s impossible to have a 15-song setlist that will please every In Flames fan, but the band's devotees continue to be passionate and In Flames continue to feed on that with passion, which becomes visually and sonically evident when you see them live.

In between sets fans were checking their phones regularly to get their fix of the newly released music videos from Metallica’s new album, but when Hellyeah took the stage beforehand all eyes were on them. The band dropped a new album of their own earlier this year Undeniable, and their explosive set began with the new song “X.”

When frontman Chad Gray wasn’t defying gravity with his high jumps and spewing venom during songs, he got fans riled up with his inspirational heavy metal sermons, “Heavy metal shows are like little islands of insanity for abnormal people. F—k normal.”

A highlight of their set was their cover of Phil Collins’ “I Don’t Care Anymore” which features guitar parts from the late guitarist Dimebag Darrell on the album. Phil Collins doesn’t usually come to mind when one thinks of Hellyeah but somehow the rendition is an infectious one that combines heavy bass lines, relentless drumming and blistering guitar that marries with Gray’s heavy groove vocals works seamlessly.

Supporting band From Ashes to New had some technical difficulties at the beginning of their set but that didn’t stop them from delivering a high energy show. Their mix of metal and hip-hop made them stand out in the lineup sonically. The band is releasing a deluxe version of their album Day One and it includes four new songs.

Source, a progressive metal band hailing from Colorado, opened up the show. They performed a lively set and had a Tool-like essence to their sound.

Check out photos in our gallery above of In Flames, Hellyeah, From Ashes to New and Source performing in New York CIty and go here for remaining tour dates.

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