THE HALO EFFECT, the new project featuring five former members of the Swedish metal band IN FLAMES — Jesper Strömblad (guitar), Daniel Svensson (drums), Peter Iwers (bass), Niclas Engelin (guitar) and Mikael Stanne (vocals) — will release its debut album, "Days Of The Lost", on August 12 via Nuclear Blast.
THE HALO EFFECT was officially launched last year, more than a decade after Strömblad quit IN FLAMES in order to continue receiving treatment for his alcohol addiction.
Earlier today, THE HALO EFFECT released the following statement via social media: "A positive note to our friends in the industry, the media and of course our fans:
"As each day brings us both closer to the release of our debut album and as we have now played our first ever show as a band we felt that it would be appropriate to address in more accurate detail a few recuring questions that we continue to receive.
"The creation of THE HALO EFFECT came about very naturally. Since day one it's just been five friends, with a long history together and that enjoy each other's company and respect each other musically getting together to create art and music. IT'S THAT SIMPLE. And to this day that's still the case. The love and respect we have for each other is limitless and collectively as THE HALO EFFECT the intention is to create the best music we possibly can.
"It's also no secret that over the years our beloved band member Jesper has had his struggle. We do not wish to hide this from anyone and we definitely do not intend to hide from this. Jesper's love for playing and creating music is immeasurable as is his love for the fans. He has never been completely comfortable doing interviews and in all honesty that's most likely not going to now change. He prefers to communicating with the fans via his music and face-to-face when he gets the chance to meet them. Jesper continues to get stronger and stronger with each day and with everyone's support this will continue. As a band we understand, respect and stand side-by-side in support with Jesper on his journey. This may mean that he may not be the most assessable of band members when it comes to interviews, this at times may mean that he will not be able to play each and every show but rest assured that Jesper will be joining as much as he possibly can."
Said Jesper: "I have been battling addiction and other demons for many years so when we formed THE HALO EFFECT I decided once and for all to deal with these issues. It is a daily struggle for me that will take time and it's something I understand that I will have to deal with every day but I have in place the help I need and I have amazing, understanding band mates and it's a fight I'm now winning. Thank you guys for believing in me. Without music there would be nothing! It means the world to have your support!"
Asked in a recent interview with Australia's "Scars And Guitars" podcast how Jesper's health is nowadays, Niclas said: "It's an ongoing battle — it is. He has his demons to fight with. We're with him in this fight. We are supportive, and it's all about love. He is in the band, and he's a bandmember, but it's from day to day, I think — but mostly way better than it has been… It's full-on support and love. And he's in a better place now today than he has been, as I mentioned. So he will be on stage [with] us, as much as he can do it, feel strong about it. No pressure from us. It has to feel good for him."
As for how THE HALO EFFECT will handle future touring activities if Jesper is unable to go on the road, Niclas said: "Yeah, we have some ideas behind that. It's nothing I can talk about right here and now. We are solving that. But the main goal is to have Jesper on board as much as he can do and feel strong about it. And then if he can't make it somehow, we support him and we are with him all the way. And we will find solutions to that because we are… This is a collective of friends. This is just a Gothenburg scene death metal, and we are among friends here, as it was back in the '90s, early '90s. And we'll solve the things in a positive way."
After leaving IN FLAMES, Strömblad formed THE RESISTANCE with Marco Aro (vocals, THE HAUNTED) and Glenn Ljungström (guitar, ex-IN FLAMES). Strömblad announced his departure from that group in March 2016, with the band's bassist, Rob Hakemo, saying in an interview that Jesper "saved" THE RESISTANCE by quitting and explaining that the guitarist is "an alcoholic" and "drug addict" who "doesn't want to [get] sober." Rob added: "[Jesper] thinks that two weeks [sober] is good, and then he can drink some. And then he's gone for a month, and then he's back and he's not drinking [for a short while]. It's a sad thing, and we really tried to help him and wanted the best [for him]. So when he told us that 'I'm leaving the band,' we were relieved. We were really relieved."
THE HALO EFFECT made its live debut on June 11 at the Sweden Rock Festival in Sölvesborg, Sweden. Fan-filmed video of the performance can be seen below.
Engelin has been sitting out IN FLAMES' tour dates for the past three and a half years but has never officially confirmed his departure from the band. Engelin's replacement for IN FLAMES' live shows since then has been former MEGADETH and current ACT OF DEFIANCE guitarist Chris Broderick.
THE HALO EFFECT's first-ever tour will be as the support act for Swedish death metal giants AMON AMARTH and U.S. metallers MACHINE HEAD on 31 dates throughout Europe in the summer and fall of 2022.