Are IN FLAMES' ANDERS FRIDÉN And BJÖRN GELOTTE 'Tough' To Be In A Band With? The Singer Responds

February 16, 2023

During an appearance on the latest episode of Doc Coyle's (GOD FORBID, BAD WOLVES) "The Ex Man" podcast, IN FLAMES singer Anders Fridén was asked if he and guitarist Björn Gelotte are "tough to be in a band" with, considering all the lineup changes they've gone through over the years. Anders responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Yeah, maybe. That could be. Who knows? I'm very determined. know what I want. I know what to do. But I'm not always right. But I think there are different points in life. And things happen. We never fired anyone. It's just the way it is. That's a question for someone else, I guess. But I know what I want. I wanna take this band here, and then I go for that. I don't know how to answer [that question], really."

Fridén was also asked if IN FLAMES would ever tour with THE HALO EFFECT, the new project featuring five former IN FLAMES members — Jesper Strömblad (guitar),Daniel Svensson (drums),Peter Iwers (bass),Niclas Engelin (guitar) and Mikael Stanne (vocals). He said: "I think we're on different paths, in a way. We are here on our fourteenth album and they have just released their first. And I don't know who's in the band anymore. Maybe. Who knows? I think we're in a different place. And why do they wanna be connected with IN FLAMES? They are forming their own band; they need to find their own identity. Let's say when they've done their fourth album, maybe we will do it, because then they become their own entity and their own band. And I think they need that, and they deserve to have their place too. The first album is fairly easy. And everything will be compared to that all the time — the same [way] it was for us.

"For us, it's not the first band with an ex-IN FLAMES member either," he continued. "I think people make [too] big of a fuss about it. We made [the latest IN FLAMES] album ['Foregone'] before hearing a single note of THE HALO EFFECT. It came really out of the blue. I heard it from someone else. And if they wanna do it, that's fine. Whatever. Everybody's entitled to do whatever. And it's fine. I am in this band, and I have my own path to follow."

"Foregone" was released on February 10 via Nuclear Blast. According to a press release, the LP "combines the greatest aggressive, metallic, and melodic strengths of their landmark records with the seasoned songwriting of their postmodern era."

"In a way, it sounds stupid to say we wanted to be more 'metal,' because we always felt that we were," Fridén previously said. "Over the last couple of years, the world became even more hostile and evil in certain ways. We have a war in Europe. People, in general, are more stressed. All of that energy and anger helped fuel this album. We went in to make something on point, heavier, and yes, 'more metal.'"

Gelotte concurred: "We made an aggressive album. We kept the dynamics, some big epic choruses, heavy guitars, lots of kick drums, and melodies. That's who we are and who we've always been."

"Foregone" is the second IN FLAMES album with bassist Bryce Paul and drummer Tanner Wayne, the first with ex-MEGADETH guitarist Chris Broderick, and the third with Grammy-winning producer Howard Benson (MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE, THREE DAYS GRACE). Mike Plotnikoff (ALL THAT REMAINS, WARBRINGER) engineered at Benson's West Valley Recording Studios. Joe Rickard (10 YEARS, STARSET, DIAMANTE),who played drums for IN FLAMES from 2016 through 2019, handled mixing duties.

"Tanner is the best drummer we've ever had," Fridén said. "I don't say that to diss anyone that came before. Tanner has so much energy and there is so much stuff going on all of the time. Bryce is an amazing bass player, really, really heavy, with a good feel. Chris comes in with all of his knowledge of the guitar. His solos are way different from Björn's and the combination of those two guys just works perfectly. It's easy to do what I do on top of it because the foundation is so solid."

Songs like "State Of Slow Decay", "End The Transmission", "Bleeding Out", "Meet Your Maker" and "The Great Deceiver" pulsate with hypnotizing power and furious anger. There's desperation, a raw nerve exposed, brought on by the chaotic dystopia of post-pandemic society.

"This album is about lost time. Everything is going in the wrong direction," Fridén explained. "We can't make up for the lost time. That's why the album is called 'Foregone'. We're destined to end. That realization creates different emotions — panic, frustration, fear. 'Scary' isn't a horror movie or an angry metal guy screaming. The real horror is what's going on in the news from around the world. We are basically doomed. The album is about the few moments we have left and what we do with them."

The melodic guitars, crushing riffs, and high-speed tempos that define much of the IN FLAMES catalog first crystalized on their second album, "The Jester Race" (1996),complete with hints of the catchy choruses to come. "Whoracle" (1997) is the rawest and arguably heaviest IN FLAMES album from the 1990s. Metal Hammer declared melodeath masterpiece "Colony" (1999) "an undisputed fireball of an album." "Clayman" (2000) introduced synths and more prominent clean vocals, with accessible hooks, without sacrificing the band's overall intensity, resulting in their first Top 20 album in Sweden. "Reroute To Remain" (2002) took the groove element even further and broadened the American audience. "Soundtrack To Your Escape" (2004) expanded the arena rock bombast. "Come Clarity" (2006) is a perfect metalcore slab, as majestic as the American bands IN FLAMES inspired. Even as it stepped away from death metal, "A Sense Of Purpose" (2008) delivered some of the band's best and most eclectic songs. The gothic groove metal of "Sounds Of A Playground Fading" (2011) paved the way for the unapologetic arena rock of "Siren Charms" (2014) and "Battles" (2016),albums full of Active Rock hooks. Fans of the more aggressive side of IN FLAMES heralded "I, The Mask" (2019) as a return to form. "Foregone" masterfully, if improbably, manages to serve all sides of the IN FLAMES fanbase, with powerful force.

"We've had our fair share of times when we were trying to please others,” Fridén reflected. "'You should write with other people. You should go after radio.' We tried it but it wasn't for us. With this album, we didn't even think about anyone else or any of that." The major strength of "Foregone", and of IN FLAMES altogether, continues to lie in the long partnership between the singer and guitarist.

"Björn and I have 100 percent trust in each other," Fridén said. "He can give me a piece of music and know that I will give him something back he'll feel proud about. I know his way of playing and it's something I love singing on. He's from that Ritchie Blackmore, Jimmy Page school of soulful, bluesy guitar players. And he has a good melodic sense. I know him inside and out and I love him to death."

Both men continue to follow their own compass. "It's impossible to please everybody. So the most important question to ask is always, 'Do we like it?'" Gelotte pointed out. "If I didn't like the music we play, I couldn't believe in it. It's a lot of time away from family. I wouldn't do this if I didn't love it. That's why we've been able to do it for such a long time; because we actually enjoy what we do."

The band built a stunning reputation with devastating, crowd-moving, inspired performances around the world at every major rock and metal festival imaginable, on festival tours like Rockstar Mayhem and Ozzfest, headlining multiple treks, and touring with their heroes, friends, and giants in the genre.

The band regularly headlines some of the biggest stages and festivals in the world. The list of IN FLAMES tourmates boasts SLIPKNOT, MEGADETH, JUDAS PRIEST, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, WITHIN TEMPTATION and LAMB OF GOD. (Over the years, they even took newer bands like GHOST and GOJIRA as support acts.)

"I'm really proud of what we achieved and that we never went away," Fridén said reflectively. "Sometimes you're loved, sometimes you're not, but we always pushed ourselves and created the music we felt was awesome. I'm so proud and happy with Bryce, Tanner and Chris, what they've brought into the band, on the recordings, and with their energy, and where IN FLAMES is at today."

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