In Flames is a Swedish metal band from Gothenburg, formed in 1990. Since the band's inception, they have released ten studio albums, three EPs, and one live DVD. As of 2008, In Flames has sold over 2 million records worldwide.
In Flames was founded in 1990 by Jesper Strömblad as a side project from his then-current death metal band, Ceremonial Oath. His purpose was to write songs with a more melodic musical direction, something which he was not allowed to do in Ceremonial Oath. In 1993, Strömblad decided to quit Ceremonial Oath due to musical differences and began focusing more on In Flames. That same year, Strömblad recruited Glenn Ljungström on guitar and Johan Larsson on bass guitar to form the first official In Flames line-up.
Lunar Strain (1993-1994):
During 1993, In Flames wrote, recorded, and self-produced their debut studio album, Lunar Strain, in Studio Fredman. Since In Flames did not have a vocalist yet, Strömblad asked Mikael Stanne of Dark Tranquillity to provide session vocals. In 1994, Lunar Strain was released.
During 1994, In Flames recorded and self-produced their first EP, Subterranean, in Studio Fredman. In Flames still did not have a vocalist yet, so session vocals were provided this time by Henke Forss. In 1994, the band covered the song "Eye of the Beholder" for the Metallica tribute album Metal Militia - A Tribute to Metallica. In 1995, Subterranean was released. Subterranean garnered much attention and led the band to acquire a record deal with Nuclear Blast.
The Jester Race (1995-1996):
In 1995, In Flames became tired of using session musicians to record an album or to do live shows, so the trio asked Björn Gelotte to join the band as the full-time drummer, and 6 months later asked Anders Fridén to join the band as the full-time vocalist. That same year, the new line up recorded and released the band's second studio album, The Jester Race. This album was recorded once again in Studio Fredman, but unlike previous albums, it was co-produced by the studio's owner, Fredrik Nordström. Gelotte also provided some lead and acoustic guitars for the album. Afterwards, In Flames toured with Samael, Grip Inc., and Kreator.
In 1997, In Flames recorded and released their third studio album, Whoracle. This album was recorded once again in Studio Fredman and co-produced by Nordström. Once again Gelotte provided lead and acoustic guitars for the album. Ljungström and Larsson unexpectedly announced that they were leaving In Flames after the album was recorded.Niklas Engelin and Peter Iwers were recruited to fill in the vacant spots on guitar and bass respectively, during a tour with Dimmu Borgir. After the tour both Engelin and Iwers were asked to join the band as permanent members, to which they agreed. With the new line-up, In Flames then proceeded with a European tour and played their first two shows in Japan. However, by the end of that tour in 1998, Engelin quit In Flames, so the band decided to switch Gelotte from his position as drummer to guitarist, and they recruited Daniel Svensson to take over as drummer.
Colony, Clayman and The Tokyo Showdown (1999-2001):
In 1999, the new line-up recorded and released the band's fourth studio album, Colony. This album was recorded once again in Studio Fredman and co-produced by Nordström. The second solo on "Coerced Coexistence" was recorded by Kee Marcello. Afterwards, In Flames toured Europe, Japan, and played their first show in the United States during the Milwaukee Metal Fest.
In 2000, In Flames recorded and released their fifth studio album, Clayman. It was recorded in the same studio as their previous releases and again co-produced by Nordström. Afterwards, In Flames toured with Dream Theater, Slipknot, and Testament. In August 2001, In Flames released The Tokyo Showdown, a live album recorded during the Japanese tour in November 2000.
Reroute to Remain (2002-2003):
In 2002, In Flames recorded and released their sixth studio album, Reroute to Remain. Unlike all of In Flames' previous albums, Reroute to Remain was not recorded in Studio Fredman or produced by Nordström. The album was produced by Daniel Bergstrand and recorded in a house the band rented in Denmark, except for the drums which were recorded at Dug-Out studio. Reroute to Remain represented a major stylistic shift for In Flames music, in the addition of clean vocals, catchier choruses and no more growls. It was also their first album to have official singles released from it. That year the band toured with Slayer, Soulfly, and Mudvayne.
Soundtrack to Your Escape (2004-2005):
In 2003, In Flames recorded their seventh studio album, Soundtrack to Your Escape, and released it in 2004. Like with Reroute To Remain, the majority of the album was recorded in a house that the band rented in Denmark, with the drums recorded in Dug-Out Studio. This album was also produced by Bergstrand. Soundtrack to Your Escape increased the band's popularity considerably, selling 100,000 copies in the United States and yielding a No. 2 single on the Swedish charts with The Quiet Place. Four music videos were filmed: "The Quiet Place", "My Sweet Shadow", "F(r)iend" and "A Touch of Red", all of which were directed by Patric Ullaeus. The ensuing world tour saw the band make their first trip to Australia, where they played to mostly sold out crowds. Afterward, In Flames toured with Judas Priest, Mötley Crüe, and Motörhead. In Flames was also featured on the main stage at Ozzfest 2005.
Come Clarity (2006-2007):
In 2005, In Flames recorded and self-produced their eighth studio album, Come Clarity, in Dug-Out studio. That same year, In Flames released Used and Abused: In Live We Trust, a box set consisting of material filmed and recorded throughout various live performances during 2004. The DVD was filmed, edited and directed by Ullaeus. Also in 2005, In Flames decided to sign with an additional record label, Ferret Music, so future releases could have better distribution in North America. In 2006, Come Clarity was released in North America through Ferret Music and elsewhere through Nuclear Blast. It became the band's first No. 1 album on the Swedish charts. A bonus DVD of In Flames playing all the songs in a rehearsal studio was also released. Ullaeus directed their music video for "Take This Life". That same year, In Flames toured with Sepultura, co-headlined a U.S. tour with Lacuna Coil, joined The Unholy Alliance Tour, was one of the headliners on the Sounds of the Underground tour, and played on the main stage at Download Festival.
In 2007, the band played in Dubai for the annual Dubai Desert Rock Festival. In Flames also played at Bloodstock Open Air festival in August 2007.
A Sense of Purpose (2008-2010):
In October 2007, In Flames finished recording their ninth studio album in IF Studios, their own studio located in Gothenburg, Sweden (formerly Studio Fredman). During the recording sessions, the band released studio diaries documenting the recording process. On January 23, 2008, the band confirmed that they had recorded a video for the single "The Mirror's Truth", and posted photos from the video on their official Myspace profile. In Flames were featured on the Gigantour 3 North American tour with Megadeth, Children of Bodom, Job for a Cowboy, and High on Fire.
On April 4, 2008, In Flames released their ninth studio album, A Sense of Purpose. The first single from the new album was titled "The Mirror's Truth" and was released in Europe on March 7, 2008. In June 2008, In Flames performed at Metaltown Festival, Metalcamp, Graspop Metal Meeting, Nova Rock Festival, Rock am Ring and Rock im Park, Gigantour and Download Festival. In late August 2008, In Flames filmed a video for the second single, "Alias", once again directed by Ullaeus. From January 2008 to December 2009 In Flames toured on the A Sense of Purpose Tour.
On February 3, 2009, the band announced that Strömblad would not be participating in the Australia/South America/Japan tour in order to get treatment for his alcohol abuse problems. Engelin was announced as his replacement for the tour. On February 18, the band announced their United Kingdom and Ireland tour would not go ahead as planned due to Strömblad's alcohol rehabilitation and the birth of Iwers's child. On March 4, the band announced that the third single from A Sense of Purpose is the track "Delight and Angers". The video premiered on the band's Myspace on March 25. It was once again directed and produced by Ullaeus. Alex Pardee did the artwork for the song like he did with all of A Sense of Purpose.
The band joined with Killswitch Engage, Dead by April, Every Time I Die and Maylene and the Sons of Disaster for the UK leg of the Taste of Chaos 2009 tour in November 2009.
Sounds of a Playground Fading (2010-2011):
The departure of guitarist and founding member Strömblad was announced on the band's MySpace on February 12, 2010. The parting was on good terms with Strömblad, stating that "I'm determined to fight and defeat my demons once and for all...", with the remaining band members backing his decision, though in a more recent declaration Fridén stated that their relationship with Strömblad was not going well. On February 28, 2011, it was announced that Engelin had re-joined the band to take the vacant spot left by Strömblad's departure.
In early 2010, In Flames collaborated with Pendulum on their third studio album Immersion. The song "Self Versus Self" is one of three collaborations on the album.
On October 11, 2010, In Flames entered IF Studios in Gothenburg to start recording their new album, tentatively titled Sounds of a Playground Fading. On January 25, 2011, the band announced that the recording of their new album was finished and that the album was being mixed. The album was recorded with producer Roberto Laghi.
To support the album, In Flames performed at the Sonisphere Festival in Knebworth, and alongside Megadeth, Trivium, Machine Head, Godsmack, and Disturbed at the Mayhem Festival 2011. They also played at Hellfest Festival 2011, headlining the second main stage, and Nova Rock Festival in Austria.
In March 2011, In Flames signed with Century Media Records. On April 6, 2011, In Flames announced their newest single, "Deliver Us", was slated for a May release.
For part of the European tour, Jonas Ekdahl of DeathDestruction filled in for Svensson on drums, after Svensson's decision to remain in Sweden for a time following the birth of his child.
Sounds of a Playground Fading was released in Sweden on June 15, 2011, on June 17, 2011 in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Norway, on June 20, 2011 in the UK, Benelux, France, Greece, Denmark and Portugal, on June 21, 2011 in North America, Spain and Italy, on June 22, 2011 in Finland, Hungary and Japan, and on June 24, 2011 in Australia and New Zealand. A video was made for "Deliver Us". It was filmed in Gothenburg, and was again directed by Ullaeus, who also directed the second video from Sounds of a Playground Fading, "Where the Dead Ships Dwell".
In an interview at Canada's Heavy MTL festival on August 12, 2012, frontman Anders Fridén revealed that In Flames will "start thinking about" recording their next studio album in 2013.
Eleventh studio album (2013-present):
In Flames are currently in the studio, working on their eleventh studio album, set to release sometime in 2014.
In Flames, along with Dark Tranquillity and At the Gates, pioneered what is now known as melodic death metal. The founding members of all three bands all lived in Gothenburg, Sweden and they were all friends who shared the same musical interests. Eventually, that group of friends branched off into three bands with the same musical direction, In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, and At the Gates.
Jesper Strömblad formed In Flames to write music that combined the melodic guitar style of Iron Maiden with the brutality of death metal, something which Jesper stated he had never heard any band do. In writing songs, Jesper also decided to make use of keyboards, something which was (at the time) uncommon in death metal. Ever since In Flames' debut studio album, Lunar Strain, the band has made use of keyboards. Despite their sometimes heavy use of keyboards in their music, they still refuse to recruit a full-time keyboardist.
In Flames' musical style is characterized by the constant use of harmonized lead guitar melodies and screaming-style singing along with death growl. In early albums such as The Jester Race, In Flames would often employ two harmonized lead guitars playing over a rhythm guitar. However, since the band only has two guitar players, they found it hard to reproduce those songs during live performances and ever since Reroute to Remain they have focused on writing songs with the intention of playing them live. On the album Soundtrack to Your Escape, the band focused on less guitar melodies, giving place for more synths. However, this has not been continued on the later albums.
In Flames' vocal style is characterized by the use of growled vocals or screamed vocals complemented at times by clean vocals. In more recent albums such as Come Clarity, the band makes more prominent use of clean vocals, especially during choruses. In Flames' lyrics have also varied during their career. In early albums such as The Jester Race and Whoracle, In Flames' lyrics focused on astrology, mankind, and other global themes. In later albums such as Soundtrack to Your Escape and Come Clarity, In Flames' lyrics focus more on personal issues, thoughts, and other introspective themes.
Since Reroute to Remain was released in 2002, In Flames fan base has been split because of the gradual change in style, towards a more alternative sound. Still, In Flames have a solid and growing worldwide fanbase. The stylistic changes include screamed and clean vocals, as opposed to the death growl on the early records, more prominent rhythm section and less guitar melodies and solos, more obvious use of synthesizers and electronics and a clear influence from modern American metal in especially the uplifting chorus melodies. This later style of the band has been noted by AllMusic for influences from both metalcore and alternative metal.
In Flames, being one of the pioneers of a new music genre, have influenced many bands and most notably they were a direct influence on the new wave of metalcore. Many metalcore bands such as Trivium, Darkest Hour, Killswitch Engage, Slowlife,As I Lay Dying, and Still Remains name In Flames as one of their biggest influences. In Flames is also a direct influence on many of the melodic death metal bands that have followed. Melodic death metal bands such as Insomnium,Omnium Gatherum, and Blood Stain Child also include In Flames as one of their biggest influences.
In Flames has been awarded four Grammis awards (the Swedish equivalent of the Grammy Awards) to date. In 2005, In Flames won their first Grammis award in the category of Best Hard Rock/Metal Album for Soundtrack to Your Escape. In 2006, In Flames won the Swedish Export Award, their second Grammis award. In Flames was the first metal band to ever win that award and the Swedish economy minister at the time, Thomas Östros, was quoted as saying "Thanks to In Flames, Sweden now have a metal band in the absolute world elite." In 2007, In Flames once again won the category of Best Hard Rock/Metal Album for Come Clarity. They have also won the "Best international Band" award from the Metalhammer Golden Gods in 2008.
Jester Head mascot:
When In Flames were recording their second studio album, The Jester Race, Anders Fridén and Niklas Sundin came up with an idea to create a symbol/mascot for In Flames. The result was the Jester Head. This symbol made its first appearance in the cover artwork of The Jester Race and ever since, the Jester has been featured in various forms somewhere on every studio album that In Flames has released, either as a song title or on the album artwork. The Jester Head is also featured in many of In Flames' merchandise and has been featured in banners as part of In Flames' live set. In anticipation of their ninth studio album, A Sense of Purpose, the official In Flames fansite was launched, featuring the Jester Head as the site's symbol (and domain name).
^ * Engelin was a touring guitarist occasionally between 1997-2011, first helping the band after Ljungström left the band in 1997, and later filling in for then-guitarist Strömblad, who could not play because he had been struggling with his ongoing battle with alcoholism. As of 2011, Engelin is an official, full-time member of In Flames.