It wasn't playing in broad daylight that bothered In Flames frontman Anders Fridén during his band's stint on this summer's Ozzfest, where the Swedish metallers served as the mainstage openers. It wasn't even the fact that In Flames were restricted to 20-minute sets, or that those sets were performed in arenas teeming with metalheads sitting in plastic seats and downing hot dogs and jumbo pretzels.
That Fridén could deal with. But knowing In Flames had an entire album in the hopper, waiting to be unleashed upon the world, but no label deal that would get it out there on store shelves? That bothered him.
"It's been frustrating waiting this long to get an album out," he said of the band's eighth studio LP, Come Clarity, the cover art for which has already been illustrated by renowned metal and hardcore artiste Derek Hess. "It was finished in April [of 2005]. We wrote it at the end of 2004. And now it's going to be released on February 7. The songs still feel fresh to us and to our fans — no matter when it was recorded, it's a new album to them. I think it still represents In Flames and where we are. But it was hard."
Before signing with New Jersey's Ferret Music, In Flames spent the summer wondering just what would become of Come Clarity. Now that everything's in order and the brutal Swedes have a full U.S. tour planned with Trivium, DevilDriver and Zao (set to kick off in January), Fridén's trying to relax a bit. That, too, will be hard. In Flames need to devote loads of time to pre-tour rehearsals, as they'll be introducing a number of cuts they've never performed live — including material from 1994's Lunar Strain — into their set list.
On the topic of touring, was the Ozzfest gamble worth it for In Flames? The singer's not sure. "We saw it as a big promotional machine, and we got a chance to play in front of a huge crowd that doesn't normally listen to In Flames," he admitted. "But we won't know for sure until the album is out. I mean, looking back, I'd rather have been on the second stage."
Fridén considers Come Clarity "a bit more aggressive, and a bit more uptempo," but said it still possesses all the "elements of In Flames. It's always been about this balance between aggression and melody. It's just another step in our evolution. I don't know where we're going exactly. But I know where we've come from. We just try to top ourselves each time and be happy with the result. That's all we can do. Now it's up to the public to judge us."
He said the clip for the album's first single, "Take This Life," has been shot. It'll feature performance footage of the band superimposed across billboards in Times Square, interspersed with scenes from the video's mysterious story line. Fridén wouldn't discuss the details, as director Patric Ullaeus (Lacuna Coil, Dimmu Borgir) was still working on the video's overall concept at the time of the interview.
As if In Flames isn't keeping him busy enough, Fridén's also working on the second album from his side project Passenger.
"It's in the works, but I don't have time," he said. "I would like to release [a Passenger LP] sometime [in 2006], because we've recorded 10 of the album's 12 songs already. It's been a very slow process." Fridén once again worked with guitarist Niklas Engelin, bassist Hakan Skoger, drummer Patrik Sten and keyboardist Pierre Sten on the outing, which has no definitive release date yet.
The rest of the week's metal news:
Florida death-metal demons Deicide will release the DVD "When London Burns" on March 7. The disc captures a 2004 show recorded at the club Mean Fiddler and includes "Dead by Dawn," "Lunatic of God's Creation" and "Scars of the Crucifix." The DVD also includes a 30-minute documentary called "Behind the Scars," which was filmed in 2003 during the making of the band's last disc, Scars of the Crucifix. ... Death-metal veterans Morbid Angel will launch a tour April 2 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Dates are scheduled through May 1 in Houston. Behemoth, Krisiun and Despised Icon will support. ... New York electro-metal outfit Genghis Tron will enter the studio in January to begin recording the follow-up to their Cloak of Love EP. The band will tour with Child Abuse starting January 2 in Atlanta and ending January 8 in Philadelphia. Genghis Tron will return to the road in March with Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower and Akimbo. ... Drummer Dom Lizzio, who left Bodies in the Gears of the Apparatus two months ago, has thought twice about the move and returned to the band. "We're a f---ing family," a statement from the group read. "We've had a tight lineup with no problems for a good while now, and Dom loves this music as much as we do, so f--- it." BITGOTA's first full-length album's scheduled for an April release. ...
Buffalo, New York's Herod will release their new album Rich Man's War, Poor Man's Fight March 7. The disc is the follow-up to 2004's For Whom the Gods Would Destroy and is the first to feature singer Jason Russo, who replaced Judah Nero last year. Rich Man's War, Poor Man's Fight was recorded at Watchmen Recording Studios with producer Doug White and includes "Assimilation," "Lies and Betrayal" and "The Fire." ... The Black Dahlia Murder recently shot a video for the title track of their new album Miasma with director Joe Lynch. The group is still searching for a drummer to replace Zach Gibson, who was booted in November because he was unable to play the band's material, according to a post on the group's official Web site. The Black Dahlia Murder are scheduled to launch a European tour January 20 in Essen, Germany. ... Influential Pittsburgh math-noise band Don Caballero are working on their first album in five years for Relapse. The disc is being produced by Al Sutton at Rustbelt Studios in Detroit and will include "World Class Listening Problem," "And And And" and "He Lowered the Twin Down." No release date has been announced. ... Misery Index will issue a split 7-inch with Japan's Bathtub Sh--ter. The disc will hit stores early next year and include Misery Index's song "Conquistadores." Meanwhile the band will start working on its forthcoming second album in the middle of next month. ...
Soilwork guitarist Peter Wichers has left the band. In a statement he called it "one of [the] hardest decisions to make" and said he was "just worn out from all the touring and, I have reached a point in my life where touring is just not possible for me anymore. I need a break from the touring so that I can actually begin to build a more solid ground to stand on for the future." Soilwork responded by making session drummer Dirk Verbeuren a full-time member of the band. ... Providence, Rhode Island, mathcore band Daughters are writing and recording their upcoming album — their first for Hydra Head Records. The disc will be the band's first since the frenzied Canada Songs, which dropped in 2003. The band was formed in 2001 out of the ashes of As the Sun Sets. ... Georgia experimental band Kylesa are working on the follow-up to their critically acclaimed 2005 disc, To Walk a Middle Course. The band is also still looking for a drummer to replace Brandon Baltzley, who left in June. Auditions will be held through the end of January, and those interested in giving it the old metal try should check out the band's Web site, kylesa.com, for details. ... Witchery, the Swedish thrash/death group that features the Haunted guitarist Patrik Jensen and Arch Enemy bassist Sharlee D'Angelo, has signed a new deal with Century Media. "[We] are really glad that we will be handled by the same team that has done such a great job for our other bands," said the group on its Web site. The band's fifth album, Don't Fear the Reaper, was recorded at Berno Studios in fall 2004 and is scheduled for release in March.