What Fuels the Fire for Sweden’s Largest Heavy Metal Export?!?
There is no strategic complexity to the inner cache of IN FLAMES – although the five-piece Swedish band are responsible for blueprinting an entire genre of dark, melodic, twisted death metal…& powerhousing a non-stop impact for the Gothenburg heavy metal scene. Since 1990, they’ve been captivating the world with fierce trade-offs between thrash-driven rhythms & clean, cutting-edge guitar harmonies…laced intricately with vocals that feed from the stealth of aggression, while staying neatly composed in euphonious flare. Through recent years, they’ve added keyboards to the mix…permeating versatility into an act of progressive likeness, & the durability of their soundscape is robustly throttled across the stage – consumed by a dazzling spectrum of light & energy. It may sound much too elaborate for any musician to muster, but for this group of down-to-earth Scandinavian power-rockers…it’s just another day in paradise…& it all makes perfect logical sense.
“It’s very hard to say…why you are who you are,” lead vocalist Anders Friden tells me, before taking the stage at the Odeon Events Centre in Saskatoon, “we’ve grown in small steps…& that’s why we never look at ourselves, as something we’re not.” Now more than a decade old, & with ten diversified albums to their credit, In Flames rose from a non-charting position globally to peaking in the ‘TOP TEN’ throughout Europe…reaching ‘NUMBER ONE’ status on numerous occasions…& harvesting FOUR ‘GRAMMIS’ (equivalent to the North American “Grammy”) in the process. So, what’s the secret behind the resilient success? “Staying true to what we believe in…& don’t listen too much to what other people say…& always do what we feel is the best for us.” Friden admits concordantly, “We have a passion, we have a love, for what we do…& that’s what’s driving us…that’s the motivation.” Often reaping comparison to the pioneering “shift” Metallica brought to heavy metal during the 1980’s – it was actually a cover of “Eye of the Beholder” that initially got In Flames signed to Nuclear Blast Records, in 1994. During those years, the band did not have the concrete lineup that it’s know for today…& although severing professional ties with their founder & longtime writing partner Jesper Stromblad in February of 2010, the amicable rhythm could not be more abundant for the remaining members…both on stage & behind the scenes. Always preying on the edges of hardcore & dense bottom tempos, In Flames’ melodic structure actually formed from a strong artistic alliance with many of their musical idols. “It was Scorpions, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Def Leppard, Krokus, Quiet Riot, & Ozzy…” Friden says, “it was like, ‘Whoa…this is my music!’ – & since then, I’ve never looked back. It started with that…heavy metal…then I found speed metal, thrash metal, death metal, & all that stuff. All those things combined…that’s where we come from.”
Tearing through dark intersections of chugging guitar & unconstrained lyrics about mankind…the focus of In Flames’ content has often touched on intellectual matters, global affairs, even astrology. The band’s tenth album “Sounds of a Playground Fading” would be released via Century Media Records in the early portion of 2011 – with an even more pronounced emotional delivery from the group, where many of the lyrics & vocal arrangements were derived before ever laying down instrumental parts. Sometimes coming under the cross-fire for adapting their music with new forms of alternative plight, Friden believes the sound has become much more pure…in a genre that has often been generational & infused by personal influences for years. “When I started, I would never think that I’d do ten albums. Every album is a photograph of who we were, at that point in our lives. They are all linked to each other, somehow…& that’s why I never look back. I have a whole different view upon the world, & for me to try to recapture who we were at that point…wouldn’t be honest.” Friden states, “It’s never forced. Even when we step outta’ our comfort zone, & do something that is slightly off…I think, it still sounds like IN FLAMES.” If shooting off pyro & performing on the Gothenburg Ferris Wheel (during the video for “Deliver Us”) isn’t enough to entice onlookers to check out the improved edge of In Flames, their LIVE SHOW demonstrates all the finesse of a well-oiled machine…with a direct agenda for spawning thoroughbred liveliness amongst their fans. Hurdling bodies, & an army of “Devil Horn” salutes, line the stage…as the scintillating Swedes power through a robust execution of battling guitars & growling chants.
“We never had that meeting, saying…WE SHOULD DO THIS!” – Anders Friden
“I love the interaction between us & our fans,” the soon-to-be 40 year old vocalist comments, “& when it’s really crazy…& people are stage diving, & crowd surfing, & the security there is really good & taking care of them…I mean, I leave the stage with such a great f*ckin’ feeling – it’s been a good night for me & the fans.” Dripping with sweat from another alloyed performance in Canada, Anders & his fiery teammates provoked an alliance within the minions…even though they were all fighting for their “prize spot” near the front of the stage. Friden, who has a very concentrated & sincere approach to his vocalization, allows the guitarists to freely embellish the stage theatrics…& their whole-hearted facial expressions not only extract the best from the fans, but the band as well. The tangibility & passion is remarkable! There is no covert operation to this game. Daniel Svensson is about the most subdued one in the group…manning his drumkit in a very relaxed manner, while hammering out some of the most booming characteristics of modern rock. Niclas Engelin (guitar) & Peter Iwers (bass) share an extremely tight kinship on stage, while Bjorn Gelotte is always a crowd favorite with his grinding attack on guitar. In a funny anecdote about how he was duped by one band, & surprisingly fell into the job of becoming a renowned vocalist, Anders shares inspiration from his days of “tape trading” & reading fanzines…“I was a fan of music, & I just wanted to be part of a scene. I wanted to play, as well…not just watch. I actually became a vocalist by accident. I wanted to become a drummer, really.” Now free to express all the musical ideals that have been vaulted inside of him since youth, Friden & In Flames respect the road they are travelling on…knowing that it is not opened up for everyone. “I’m just happy that people pay attention to what we do…” he says earnestly, “…if it’s the whole discography, or if it’s just one album, or one song…that’s fine.”
Pronounced as one of the greatest heavy metal influences of the 21st Century, IN FLAMES has established their magnitude by never accepting any false pretenses about themselves. Their finely intertwined branches are coated with realism, purity, precision, & power. “Sounds of a Playground Fading” has carved out a new deliverance for the band & it’s echoing even further success. Debuting at #2 on the “Hard Rock Chart”, #7 on the “Top Rock Chart”, #5 on the “Independent” listings, & #12 amongst “Canadian Albums” – there is obviously a new uprising of supportive fans ready to settle in with the sedimentary ones. A long way from “Lunar Strain” & “Subterranean”, the band seems to ride the evolutionary waves of the coming tide…before anyone else even knows they are about to hit. On the brink of their last album being two years old, fans & critics have eagerly been questioning the onset of a new release. “We don’t write on the road.” Friden claims, & amidst the chaos & tireless antics of rock stardom…I can see just why. Staying centered & focused is not so easily done when you’re touring the world, head a record label, run a beer branding company, & two of your bandmates are successful restaurateurs. After finishing up the “Another Year Another Tour” North American dates, & playing the festival circuit all throughout Europe this summer, the guys plan on hitting the studio by October…with a new album intended for mid-2014. With over 2.5 MILLION ALBUMS sold worldwide & a rich twenty year history, Anders & I both agree that now is not the time for any of them to slow down.
First stepping onto American soil in 1999, In Flames has toured with Slipknot, Testament, Slayer, Judas Priest, Motley Crue, Motorhead, Dream Theater, Megadeth, Sepultura, Lamb of God, Lacuna Coil – the list just goes on, & on, & on. Praised for their significant modification of metal music, Friden believes that “death metal” will truly never die. “It’ll become a new generation, which incorporates new elements in the music…& that will turn into something else…& something else. Other bands will take this genre further.” he says. During the hype of the mosh-packed evening at Odeon Events Centre, some new contenders vigorously adopted their place in the history of heavy metal mayhem. Michigan’s Battlecross let loose with their waves of flying hair & “blue-collar thrash”. Oakland, California’s All Shall Perish raised the flag for the deathcore scene, where vocalist Hernan Hermida exalted the efforts of their roadies, idols, & the unwavering dedication of loyal fans. Seattle’s Demon Hunter were obviously one of the more adept openers of the night, with a polished thirteen years experience & six albums under their belt. Their mix of metalcore, groove metal, & anthem-like trajectory is a pleasing revelation for the bold-faced Christian group.
IN FLAMES will be making special upcoming appearances at Copenhell Festival in Denmark, Hell & Heaven Fest in Mexico, Sonisphere Festival (France), Graspop Metal Meeting (Belgium), & Getaway Rock Festival in Sweden…with many other dates creeping up on them, as well. Their enthusiastic commitment to always keeping “heart & soul” within the music, & conveying their current instrumental aspirations, has been a key device that triggers “intrigue” for the heavy metal community all-around. Their kaleidoscopic tendencies may not always garner sincere appreciation from every single fan around the world, but In Flames keep the sincerity amongst themselves & have nothing left to prove. Crowned “BEST INTERNATIONAL BAND” at the 2008 Metal Hammer “Golden Gods” Awards, & considered to be one of the most elite musical exports coming out of Sweden, their rigid stage exhibition has the intensity to fixate even those that have never heard of them before. Since topping their homeland charts in 2006, with the highly-acclaimed album “Come Clarity” – a long prosperous future couldn’t look much more “in focus” for this definitive & adventurous group.
WANNA BE A PART OF “IN FLAMES” HISTORY?!?
EVER WANTED TO BECOME A PART OF AN ‘IN FLAMES’ MUSIC VIDEO? Well, now is your chance! IN FLAMES is making the casting call to ALL FANS WORLDWIDE to be a part of the upcoming video for “Ropes”. By simply uploading your very own video-clip of ANYTHING In Flames related, you have a chance to be in the actual video! All video-clips must contain In Flames related content & it could be LIVE film footage, you rocking out to an In Flames song, or even showing your special tribute to the band. For more information about becoming a part of “The Making of Ropes” – please visit www.makingofropes.com before April 15th, 2013.
BE A PART OF HEAVY METAL HISTORY!!!!
Join the colony of Jesterhead Fans at: http://jesterhead.inflames.com/