Members: Anders Frid?n, Jesper Str?mblad, Bj?rn Gelotte, Peter Iwers, Daniel Svensson
Active: 1990 - present
In Flames is a Swedish melodic death metal band from the city of Gothenburg. While it is questionable whether they were the creators of the genre, their heavy influence on it is not disputed.
In Flames' line-up underwent constant changes throughout their early career. Their first stable line-up was composed by the founding members Jesper Str?mblad, Johan Larsson and Glenn Ljungstr?m, with Anders Frid?n on vocals and Bj?rn Gelotte on drums. With this line-up, they proceeded to record the album The Jester Race, which made the band known to the world, especially in Europe and Japan.
In the United States among fans of Death Metal, In Flames is perhaps best known for their albums Jester Race, Whoracle, Colony and Clayman. However, the group came to mainstream attention with Reroute to Remain, Soundtrack To Your Escape and their most recent studio album Come Clarity.
In Flames began when three members of Ceremonial Oath ? Jesper Str?mblad, Johan Larsson and Glenn Ljungstr?m ? quit the band in order to start a musical project of their own. They recorded a short demo which was sent to a few recording labels. The owner of Wrong Again Records thought the band had promise, and soon closed a recording deal with them. From this deal surfaced In Flames' first album - entitled Lunar Strain - which relied on death grunts for vocals and aggressive instrumental work, at times combined with acoustic sections. The album obtained success on the Swedish underground scene and received positive critics from the specialized press. However, In Flames soon became known to most of Europe with the release of the EP from 1995 Subterranean. The EP attracted the attention of the Nuclear Blast label, which offered them a contract for an European release the same year. A short tour with Kreator followed.
Due to the band's increasing success, Johan Larsson and guitarist Glenn Ljungstr?m ? who were already part of other established bands ? decided to quit In Flames due to the difficulties of sharing time between different projects. Their last contribution to the band was the album Whoracle, from 1997. Peter Iwers and Niklas Engelin were then invited to accompany In Flames in the joint tour with Dimmu Borgir that followed Whoracle's release. This line-up worked rather well, and by the end of the tour the musicians became permanent members of In Flames. Together they travelled Europe and made the band's first concert outside of Europe, in Japan. However, by the end of that tour, Niklas Engelin quit the band due to musical differences. Drummer Bj?rn Gelotte assumed the guitars and Sacrilige's Daniel Svensson assumed the drums. This line-up recorded Colony, and a partial world tour followed.
2000 saw the release of Clayman. By this time, the band had already become widely known, and played with bands of major recognition such as Dream Theater, Slipknot and Testament. Peter Iwers' first daughter was born, and he temporarily left the band. He was replaced by Dick L?wgren for a year. When he came back to the band, the live album The Tokyo Showdown was recorded.
A DVD box set was released in September 2005 entitled Used and Abused... In Live We Trust. The band toured on the 2005 Ozzfest and supported Mot?rhead on its 30th anniversary tour in Autumn 2005.
The band has sold over 1 million records all over the world.
SIGNIFICANT STYLISTIC CHANGES
After The Tokyo Showdown, In Flames began to modify some of the style that initially characterized the band's especially tough-yet-melodic edge. The specific reason for this shift is unknown, but most relate it to the changes happening in the European musical scene at the time, and to Anders Frid?n's wishes.
However, Bj?rn Gelotte has stated the experimental use of different producers has altered their sound, specifically after "Clayman". Many fans are split between perceptions of more recent In Flames releases. Some say that Reroute to Remain and Soundtrack to Your Escape are bordering on nu-metal. However, others claim these post-Clayman albums still have their roots in melodic death metal, and that this is apparent from the complex guitar solos and dual guitar harmonies of old.
The album Come Clarity, released in February 2006, appears to harbor an interesting mix of the melodies of Clayman with elements of thrash metal. In all, it is still a major departure from the sound In Flames had from 1997 to 2000 which had helped make them famous. Interestingly, Come Clarity has received mixed reviews from the fans who had disliked the last two albums by the band, with some suggesting it was the sign of In Flames returning to their musical roots.The band's fanbase remains as polarised as ever over In Flames' alleged 'selling out'. Critics, meanwhile, rated their last three studio albums favorably.
Along with Dark Tranquillity At The Gates and Sentenced, In Flames are widely thought of as some of the first practitioners, if not inventors of the melodic death metal genre. It is true that Carcass's Heartwork featured some excellent examples of this music, but In Flames is sometimes said to have truly fashioned the genre as it exists today. Advocates of this theory claim this is notable in its most evolved form on songs such as "Episode 666" and "Jotun". In any case, bands such as Arch Enemy name In Flames as a vital influence.
1994 - Lunar Strain
1995 - Subterranean (EP)
1997 - The Jester Race
1997 - Black-Ash Inheritance (EP)
1997 - Whoracle
1999 - Colony
2000 - Clayman
2001 - The Tokyo Showdown (Live)
2002 - Reroute to Remain
2003 - Trigger (EP)
2004 - Soundtrack to Your Escape
2006 - Come Clarity
2005 - Used and Abused: In Live We Trust (2 DVD [+ 2 CD] set, 2005)