Swedish metal outfit Embraced was originally comprised of guitarist Peter Mårdklint, vocalist Kalle Johansson, and bassist Michael Håkansson. Working within the parameters of thrash, the band eventually moved toward a more melodic sound, influenced by thrash, death, and the members' interest in classical music. Drummer Daniel Lindberg joined in 1995, as did keyboardist Sven Karlsson. The addition of Karlsson allowed the band to expand its sound considerably, adding synthesized flutes, strings, and choir effects to the mix. Embraced recorded the Journey Into Melancholy demo in 1997; it led to a contract with Swedish metal label Regain. Embraced performed throughout Sweden, Finland, and the metal haven of Germany, but eventually realized that effectively presenting their grandiose sound live with only one keyboardist was impossible. Embraced didn't consider multi-tracking an option, as the purity of the group's live sound was extremely important. Instead, they added second keyboardist Julius Chmielewski to the lineup in 1997, with additional guitarist Devor Tepic joining soon after.
Now seven rockers strong, Embraced entered the studio to record their debut full-length. Amorous Anathema was released through Regain in April of 1998. At this point Lindberg decided to leave the band; he was replaced with Andres Albin. But Albin's tenure behind the kit was short-lived, giving way to Thomas Lejon after only four months. After this game of musical chairs was over, Embraced began to record its sophomore release, which arrived in November of 2000. Unfortunately, Within was the band's swan song, as disagreements over direction -- not to mention personal musical tastes -- tore Embraced apart. Within was released posthumously in Japan; it featured a bonus cover version of Alphaville's "Big In Japan," as well as "Book of Keys," an Embraced original. Michael Håkansson went on to perform with Evergrey and the Forsaken, while Kalle Johansson started the hard rock band Burning Engines. Lejon joined the Swedish prog-metalurgists Andromeda. ~ Johnny Loftus, Rovi