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Music / In Flames

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In Flames We Trust.
A Melodic Death Metal / Alternative Metal quintet formed in Gothenburg, Sweden.

To date the band has released thirteen 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, Siren Charms in 2014, Battles in 2016, I, the Mask in 2019, and Foregone dropped in 2023.

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 one of the best metal albums of The '90s.

Despite this, the band felt like they were playing the same style too often 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 albums worldwide.

See also The Halo Effect, a supergroup formed by several of their former members in 2021.


  • Anders Fridén: lead vocalist. He also writes the lyrics.
  • Björn Gelotte: one of the band's two guitarists (served as the drummer from 1995-1998).
  • Chris Broderick: the rhythm guitarist as of 2022. Previously a live-only contributor from 2019.
  • Bryce Paul Newman: the bassist as of 2018. Previously a live-only contributor a year back.
  • Tanner Wayne: the drummer as of 2018.


  • Lunar Strain (1994)
  • The Jester Race (1996)
  • Whoracle (1997)
  • Colony (1999)
  • Clayman (2000)
  • Reroute to Remain (2002)
  • Soundtrack to Your Escape (2004)
  • Come Clarity (2006)
  • A Sense of Purpose (2008)
  • Sounds of a Playground Fading (2011)
  • Siren Charms (2014)
  • Battles (2016)
  • I, the Mask (2019)
  • Foregone (2023)

Tropes of a Playground Fading:

  • Alternative Metal: Their later albums contain this sound along with their usual melodeath, though Sounds of a Playground Fading, Siren Charms, Battles, and I, the Mask 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 through Clayman to more abstract artwork on Reroute to Remain and Soundtrack to Your Escape. 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, Subterranean, 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 with A Sense of Purpose, Sounds of a Playground Fading, Battles, I, the Mask, and Foregone. These albums used fonts that complemented the rough artwork on the albums note , and Siren Charms heralded a return to the minimalist typesetting.
    • The traditional Jesterhead logo used from 1996-2011 was replaced by a simpler logo designed by Andreas Werling beginning on Siren Charms.
    • With the band's reintroduction of melodeath stylings comes the return of the classic Jesterhead on the cover of I, The Mask.
  • 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."
  • Auto-Tune: Utilized considerably on Battles as well as I, the Mask. Not a surprise bearing in mind that Howard Benson note  produced the material.
  • Careful with That Axe: Very frequently used in their later music. For example, "Evil in a Closet" and, to a lesser extent, "Cloud Connected."
  • Concept Album: Whoracle
  • Continuity Nod: Whatever the term "Neo-wolf" means, it's a term that appears in both The Jester Race and Whoracle 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. 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.
  • Crossover: Anders Fridén did guest vocals on Within Temptation's "Raise Your Banner", and the band as a whole toured with them that year (though he didn't join the live performance of the song).
  • 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.
  • 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"
  • Epic Rocking: A Sense of Purpose contains "The Chosen Pessimist", which is track #8 off said album. Clocking in at a total of eight minutes, it currently stands as the band's longest song to date.
    • Battles includes the band's second lengthiest track thus far in history, titled "Wallflower", which is seven minutes long.
  • Fan Community Nickname: Jesterheads.
  • Fanvid: The official music video for "Ropes" 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.
  • Genre Mashup: Later works featured a fusion of Melodic Death Metal, Alternative Metal, Nu Metal, and Metalcore.
  • 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" from Whoracle, which may be the titular "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.
  • Important Haircut: Anders recently cut off his dreadlocks, after growing them out for nine years. His haircut pretty much coincides with the band abandoning the last traces of melodeath in their sound.
  • Instrumentals: They have several instrumental songs, including "Wayfaerer" from The Jester Race, "Starforsaken" from Lunar Strain, "Whoracle" from its respective album, and "Man Made God," a bonus track from Colony only included on the Japanese release and remaster of the album.
  • Intercourse with You: "Morphing Into Primal" on Whoracle, using astronomy innuendos.
  • Lighter and Softer: The song "Metaphor" on Reroute to Remain and the title track off 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, whilst Battles meanwhile is by far the group's most pop-sounding yet.
    • 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.
  • Long-Runner Cast Turnover: The band was founded in 1990 and has continuously toured and produced ever since, but the last original member, keyboardist Jesper Strömblad, left in 2010.
  • Melodic Death Metal: Their music primarily featured this style until Jesper departed.
    • 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.
    • One of the reasons for the change was because Anders' vocals were badly damaged as a result of his guttural growling over the years, so he was forced to do more clean singing as otherwise he would blow out his vocal cords completely.
    • The band would reintroduce and revisit elements of the melodeath genre with I, The Mask, the Updated Re-release of Clayman, and Foregone.
  • Metal Band Mascot: Jesterhead.
  • Metal Scream: Anders predominantly used Type 2's in the early days of the band, but as the group evolved its sound - coupled with vocal chord deterioration - he switched to Type 3's from Reroute to Remain onwards.
  • 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.
  • 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, while not the first one written by In Flames, is one of their more recognized ballads.
  • Revolving Door Band: There aren't any original members left since Jesper departed.
  • Rockumentary: Used & Abused: In Live We Trust.
  • 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 Colony, Anders has been mixing in clean vocals with his usual screamsnote . The ratio of clean to harsh vocals has steadily increased with each subsequent album, to the point where their latest albums feature several songs with no screaming.
    • 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.
  • Shout-Out: "We Will Remember" from I, the Mask is littered with references to both past IF track titles and certain lyrical passages lifted from older material. For instance, the opening line "We have come so far, crawled through knives and artifacts" namechecks the songs "Crawl Through Knives" and "Artifacts of the Black Rain" respectively.
  • Stop and Go: "Coerced Coexistence" on Colony 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, Blood Stain Child and Nekrogoblikon.
  • Truck Driver's Gear Change: "Only for the Weak", "Square Nothing", and "World of Promises", the latter a cover of a Treat song, which didn't have it originally. "The New World" and arguably "Dead Eternity" and "Stand Ablaze" as inversions.
  • Vocal Evolution: From traditional death growls on the first four albums to a more fry scream-laden style from Clayman onward. Not to mention the gradual implementation of clean singing starting with Colony and solidifying with Reroute to Remain. Post-Siren Charms material shows a much more varied singing style with the return of strident death growls and the occasional yarling.
    • In general, Anders' performances have slowly taken on a much more higher-pitched range since Reroute to Remain, whether this be due to age, studio manipulation, or improved techniques to avert vocal decay.