Music: In Flames

In Flames We Trust.

A Melodic Death Metal / Alternative Metal quintet formed in Gothenburg, Sweden.

To date the band has released 11 studio albums; Lunar Strain in 1994, The Jester Race in 1996, Whoracle in 1997, Colony in 1999, Clayman in 2000, Reroute to Remain in 2002, Soundtrack to Your Escape in 2004, Come Clarity in 2006, A Sense of Purpose in 2008, Sounds of a Playground Fading in 2011, and most recently, Siren Charms in 2014. The band emerged with a very traditional Melodic Death Metal sound, combining elements of Folk Metal into their songs, and focusing largely on melodic instrumentation. The sound was described as 'Gothenburg metal', and the band's sophomore album, The Jester Race, is considered to be a classic album in the genre of melodeath, and by some to be one of the best metal albums in recent years.

Despite this, the band felt like they were playing the same style too often around halfway through their career, and changed their style starting with their 2002 release Reroute to Remain, which caused dispute between many fans. The new sound departed from much of their old sound, which involved high-pitched screams in replacement of the low death growls, the addition of melodic vocals, less raw production, and a more commercially acceptable tone among other elements. Some fans, however, liked the change in sound, citing it to be 'a step in a new direction', and some even like the old and the new sound.

To date, the band has sold over 3 million records worldwide.

Members:
  • Anders Friden: lead singer, growler, and screamer. He also writes the lyrics.
  • Bjorn Gelotte: one of the band's two guitarists (served as the drummer from 1995-1998).
  • Niclas Engelin: the other guitarist; replaced band founder Jesper Stromblad in 2010.
  • Peter Iwers: the bassist.
  • Daniel Svensson: the drummer.


Tropes of a Playground Fading:

  • Alternative Metal: Their later albums contain this sound along with their usual melodeath, though Sounds of a Playground Fading and Siren Charms are straight alt-metal.
  • Art Evolution: Generally speaking, from traditional death-metal imagery and stylization to minimalism in their album covers and logos:
    • Firstly, regarding the cover artwork, In Flames shifted from traditional metal artwork as seen from Lunar Strain (1994) through Clayman (2000) to more abstract artwork on Reroute to Remain (2002) and Soundtrack to Your Escape (2004). The artwork on their albums since 2006, starting with Come Clarity, has been "rougher," usually depicting sketches of dark and surreal imagery. These shifts in art style parallel their musical evolution as well.
    • The font used to stylize "In Flames" on each album changed from a more traditional death-metal font on Lunar Strain and The Jester Race to a streamlined but still metal-reminiscent logo between Whoracle and Clayman. Starting with Reroute to Remain, the band opted for a minimalist font that has appeared on all albums afterwards except for A Sense of Purpose and Sounds of a Playground Fading. These albums used fonts that complemented the rough artwork on the albums[1], but Siren Charms heralded a return to the minimalist typesetting.
    • Finally, the traditional Jesterhead logo used from 1996-2011 was replaced by a simpler logo designed by Andreas Werling[2] on Siren Charms (2014).
  • Audience Participation Song: "Swim" is this on The Tokyo Showdown. In recent performances, In Flames will call upon their audiences to participate in a variety of songs, such as callouts on "Resin" or "Only For The Weak" and clapping on "Where The Dead Ships Dwell."
  • Awesome McCoolname: The name of the band.
  • Badass Beard: Anders in his later years. And, of course, Bjorn Gelotte.
  • Careful With That Axe: Very frequently used in their later music. For example, "Evil In A Closet" and, to a lesser extent, "Cloud Connected."
  • Continuity Nod: Whatever the term "Neo-wolf" means, it's a term that appears in both The Jester Race (1996) and Whoracle (1997) to describe scenarios heralding a fictional apocalypse.
    • Also, the title of the 1997 EP Black-Ash Inheritance is derived from a lyric from "Dead God In Me" on The Jester Race.
  • Cover Version: In Flames covered several songs in their 1997-2002 period, including "Everything Counts" by Depeche Mode and "Land of Confusion" by Genesis.
    • The Cover Changes The Meaning: Slightly, with "Everything Counts" on Whoracle (1997). The original song is about corporate greed in the music industry, but the In Flames cover in the context of Whoracle is about societal greed as a whole.
  • Darker and Edgier: Whoracle, which is easily the band's darkest and most brutal album.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Many of their music videos make use of this aesthetic, especially the music video releases for Siren Charms.
  • Dream Team: They have worked with Pendulum for their album Immersion.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The lyrics of Lunar Strain seem to focus on one of these, particularly in Behind Space: "Call me by my astral name / Breeding fear through wordless tongue"
  • Fan Community Nickname: Jesterheads.
  • Fanvid: The official music video for "Ropes"[3] is composed of these.
  • Genre-Busting: While their early albums were more straightforward in terms of sound, the later works feature a lot of elements from different rock subgenres.
  • Groove Metal: Around Soundtrack to Your Escape, this genre became another influence that added to In Flames' post-Clayman sound.
  • Humanoid Abomination: The entity described in "Gyroscope," which may be the "Whoracle" herself, qualifies.
    "Breasts ripe with smog filled rebellion
    Apathy dressed in violence
    White insectoid legs
    Curse her lips and her mouth"
    • In some artwork, Jesterhead is portrayed similarly, such as in the booklet artwork for A Sense of Purpose (2008).
  • Important Haircut: Anders recently cut off his dreadlocks, after growing them out for 9 years.
  • Lighter and Softer: The song 'Metaphor' on Reroute to Remain and the title track on Come Clarity are softer than most of their usual work. The same could be said for all releases after Reroute to Remain in comparison to their previous work, although some songs, such as "Take This Life", "Scream" and "Trigger" are just as heavy as their older material. The album Siren Charms in particular is rather sedate compared to even their most recent material.
    • The shift also applies to their lyrical content. While Anders' modern lyrics tend to primarily discuss internal, individual struggles, the lyrical content of albums from Lunar Strain to Colony more often discussed apocalyptic scenarios, Eldritch Abominations or malevolent supernatural entities, and the decaying state of human society.
  • Melodic Death Metal: Their music primarily features this style.
    • Unlike many metal bands who change their sound, nobody actually knows why they did. While they have not directly explained their melodic shift over the decades, Anders in one interview elaborated that the band takes a more laid-back approach to their songwriting, resulting in different sounds from album to album[4].
  • Metal Band Mascot: Jesterhead.
  • Metal Scream: Anders can pull off rather epic Type 3's.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Older songs an 8-9, later songs a 7-8. "Take This Life", the opening track for Come Clarity, is a very hard 9 bordering on 10 (same for "Morphing Into Primal" from Whoracle), while "Scream", a song from the same album, is a solid 10.
  • Music for Courage: On A Sense of Purpose and subsequent albums, this is a more common theme for listed tracks. Some examples are "Drenched In Fear," "Fear Is The Weakness," and "Dead Eyes."
  • New Sound Album: Reroute to Remain is the album that arguably solidified their "new" sound. However, Colony and Clayman showed the band gradually developing it.
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Later works featured a fusion of Melodic Death Metal, Alternative Metal and Nu Metal.
  • Non-Appearing Title: These are relatively common for In Flames and appear regularly on each release. "Colony," "System," "Trigger," "Siren Charms," and "Disconnected" are some examples.
  • Nu Metal: Has flirted with this on their later material, with "Leeches", "Trigger" and "The Quiet Place" being particularly good examples.
  • Power Ballad: The title track of Come Clarity (2006), while not the first one written by In Flames, is one of their more recognized ballads.
  • Rockumentary: Used & Abused: In Live We Trust (2005).
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: Because In Flames only has one regular vocalist, to record studio albums Anders will often employ this method when the band doesn't collaborate with a guest vocalist.
  • Signature Style: Early on, harmonized guitar shredding a la Iron Maiden combined with ferocious chainsaw riffs typical of Death Metal. Nowadays the band has incorporated Electronic Music elements into their songwriting, along with Linkin Park-style power riffs, while keeping the dual guitar noodling that made them famous. Also, Anders Friden has one of the most easily recognizable screaming voices in modern metal. Of the three big melodeath bands, they were the most melodic and accessible.
  • Singer Namedrop: On "December Flower":
    "We are In Flames
    towards the dead archaic heavens
    We Are The Mantle And The Texture
    the alters the mantle of the earth"
  • Soprano and Gravel: Starting with Reroute to Remain, Anders has been mixing in clean vocals with his usual screams.
    • Some more straight examples of this trope are used occasionally on tracks such as "Dead End" on Come Clarity and "When The World Explodes" on Siren Charms, where Anders alternates with a female vocalist.
  • Stop and Go: "Coerced Coexistence" on Colony (1999) is a very fast-paced song that does this early on after the first lyric, "I'll take you on a ride." This happens again in the last minute of the song.
  • Title Track: Except for A Sense of Purpose and Soundtrack to Your Escape, every album is named for a song contained within the album.
  • Trope Codifier: For the more melodic and upbeat end of melodeath as performed by them and Unearth, Sonic Syndicate, Scar Symmetry, Children of Bodom, MyGrain, Gorod, Soilwork and Blood Stain Child.
  • Vocal Evolution: From traditional death growls on the first four albums to a more screamy style from Clayman onward. Not to mention the gradual implementation of clean singing starting with Colony and solidifying with Reroute To Remain.