Former IN FLAMES Members Didn't Want To 'Invent Something New' With THE HALO EFFECT Debut
July 11, 2022
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. Asked in a new interview with Finland's Chaoszine if he and the other members of THE HALO EFFECT had a clear idea about their musical direction from the band's inception, Stanne said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "We decided to… It was just, like, 'We can do anything. It doesn't matter. Let's make music that feels good.' And those first demos were very indicative of, 'Okay. Wow. We're going in a direction that we like. And this is easy.' I guess we decided early on, let's rather not invent something new but rather play to our strengths. What are we good at? What can we do that we know we are good at? So, that way it was so much easier to put together songs too, because it's not like you have to be original or anything — it doesn't have to be something unique — it just has to be really good. And that's all that mattered. And that's what we said, 'If it feels good, then we do it.' Otherwise we won't. We're at a certain age and a certain level of experience that we're not gonna force anything out of this; we're gonna make sure that this is a fun, cool project where we have a great time writing together, great time recording and playing. And that's it. That's the main draw for us."
Stanne, whose main focus continues to be DARK TRANQUILLITY, went on to say that "it was great to reconnect with old friends" during the making of THE HALO EFFECT album. "That's what really made it such a great experience for me," he said. "Because I'm constantly traveling, and we don't see each other enough, I think. So finally we could just hang out in the studio and just talk about music and write a little bit, record some and just hang out and talk about the good old days when we met in the early '90s or talk about records we love and concerts we went to see… So this was a great opportunity for that. And then just doing something at home as well. You're stuck; you're not going out that much. It was basically just studio, home studio, family and bands — that's all I met during the pandemic. But it was great. [Whether] it was [DARK TRANQUILLITY] or GRAND CADAVER or THE HALO EFFECT, it was a really, really good time and super creative. So, creatively, this has been the best years or my life. But it's also been miserable in many other ways."
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.
Asked in a recent interview with "The Back Lounge" podcast about some fans' perception that THE HALO EFFECT was formed primarily with the intention of "sticking it" to IN FLAMES, Peter said: "No, no, no. It couldn't be further from the truth. Somebody said it to me perfectly… When you get that question, well, it's like talking about your ex-wife. You had it, it was great at the time, but then you moved on. So THE HALO EFFECT started out of love for music — not at all to spite anybody or to create some rivalry; nothing like that at all. And it needs to be said, and it probably will be said a bunch of times. The love for music and the love for each other is a hundred percent what it's all about."
Peter added that forming a band with the intention of competing with someone else "would be totally the wrong reason" to do it. "Everything I do I base upon how I feel," he explained. "I try to do everything with a good vibe and everything that makes me feel good, feel great. And that's what it's all about with everything that I do. So if I would ever start something to piss somebody else off, then it wouldn't make me feel good, and I couldn't keep on doing it. It's real simple in my world, but I understand how people think that and how some people would like to think that. But there's no rivalry. IN FLAMES, I was a member for 20 years. And it is what it is. It's a great band and they always will be."
Last month, 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", IN FLAMES' sixth album, which came out in 2022. 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 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.
Stanne recently told the "Heavy Hops" podcast about THE HALO EFFECT's musical direction: "Niclas started writing a few songs, just based on what he has and what he kind of digs. And I immediately felt, like, 'Oh, this is super cool. We're on to something here.' It's super heavy, it's melodic — it's all those things that we kind of grew up trying to do. Then Jesper got involved and he started changing a little bit of that or adding stuff to it. And we were, like, 'Okay, this is awesome.' It doesn't feel new at all, it doesn't feel super different, but at the same time, why should we? Let's focus on the things that we know best and try to kind of recapture that feeling that we had when we were kids, when we wanted to play together and that kind of playful atmosphere. Because the longer you play together with your main band or what have you, you try to constantly reinvent yourself, and so much energy goes into trying to be different from what you have done before. Whereas starting something new like this with a very familiar genre of music meant that you could be very free about it. It doesn't have to be anything in particular, it doesn't have to conform to any rules — it just needs to fucking kick ass and feel good."
Shortly after leaving IN FLAMES, Iwers joined CYHRA, the band featuring vocalist Jake E (ex-AMARANTHE) and Strömblad. He announced his departure from that band in May 2018.
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.
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