Former IN FLAMES Members Didn't 'Overthink' The Songwriting Process For THE HALO EFFECT: 'We Just Stick To What We Know Best'

August 11, 2022

THE HALO EFFECT, the new project featuring five former members of the Swedish metal band IN FLAMESJesper 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. Asked in a new interview with Jorge Fretes from Spain's if THE HALO EFFECT members see their history with IN FLAMES as a "stigma" of some sort, Niclas said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "No. It isn't. I don't think that way. We don't think that way. Because this band is like a collective of friends. We've been doing this for so long. We were there in the formative years back in '89, '90. I mean, me and Mikael met up in '89, doing our first show. It was when they were called SEPTIC BROILER and I was in a band called SARCAZM; we did our first show together. And from there on, we've been doing our thing, so to speak. We just go with the flow and just do what we thought felt right for us at the moment. He continued doing DARK TRANQUILLITY and I was in GARDENIAN, PASSENGER and ENGEL and stuff like that.

"IN FLAMES is an important band within the genre, of course, but we helped build this genre as well," Niclas continued. "So we just stick to what we know best — playing this kind of music — because we love it. There's no master scheme behind this or anything like that. It was like in the beginning, when we met up. 'Well, what kind of music should we go for? Should we go progressive, RUSH kind of thing? Let's make a song. Let's make some cool stuff. Let's just start with some parts, bits here and there. And the first song we actually wrote together is a song called 'Gateways'. And it's kind of mellow but creepy with a haunting vibe. The intro, the verse thing is like a horror movie kind of thing that blends out in this big, thick chorus, which unmistakably is that kind of genre. So we thought, 'All right. This is the way we should go. And the main topic should be don't overthink too much and just have fun with it.' And that's what we did with the whole album. This is a lot of love and a lot of fun — and no overthinking."

Last month, Stanne was asked in an interview with Tomar Uma if "Reroute To Remain", IN FLAMES' sixth album, which came out in 2002 and featured Jesper, Peter and Daniel, was an influence on the way THE HALO EFFECT approached the songwriting process. He responded: "I don't think so. I love that album — I think it's fantastic — but no, I don't think so. But, obviously, the other guys were a big part of it, so maybe that's something… They had that experience, so that will color and will somehow affect them. But I don't think it ever came up, so I don't think that was a particular influence. But, of course, everything is a part of what you do, right?!"

In June, Iwers was asked in an interview with Australia's "Scars And Guitars" podcast if he would agree that "Days Of The Lost" is, in some ways, a "spiritual successor" to "Reroute To Remain". Peter said: "Ooh, interesting. I haven't really thought about it. When you make music, like we do, you tend not to overthink stuff — you just go in and you write music and kind of know that what comes out will sound a certain way because of the style that we are playing and how we are playing and performing our music. So I haven't really thought about it, but maybe — maybe. It was definitely nothing intentional. We just went in. We had a bunch of ideas and we came out with a bunch of songs that happen to sound a certain way. But none of us really overthought it and it was never meant to 'it's gonna sound like this' or 'it's gonna sound like that.' We just [went], 'Let's write this music and see what happens.' And because of, like I said, how we're playing, it will sound a certain way."

Added Daniel: "A lot of people like to analyze music, and, of course, it sounds Gothenburg metal-ish because we all are from that genre and we are some of the people that kind of created it. So, of course, it will sound Gothenburg metal-ish, IN FLAMES-ish. And then which era, I don't know. And as Peter said, we don't really think about how it should sound. This is how we sound today, and with our legacy this is inevitable, that we sound as we do."

Continued Peter: "Obviously, people like to do a lot of comparing between us… It's a difficult topic to discuss because none of us have — even though we've all been in IN FLAMES at some point, none of us have really thought about this as what you're saying. But then a lot of people that we speak to say it. So it's a little hard to take in, as we've been very thorough in just writing music. But I'd say it's a little flattering to hear it."

Svensson, who joined IN FLAMES in 1998, announced in 2015 that he was leaving the group to focus on his family life.

A member of IN FLAMES since 1997, Iwers issued a statement in November 2016 saying that he was exiting the band "to pursue other endeavors."

A founding member of IN FLAMES, Strömblad quit the band in February 2010 in order to continue receiving treatment for his alcohol addiction.

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.

Photo credit: Markus Esselmark

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