NICLAS ENGELIN Says JESPER STRÖMBLAD's Alcohol Addiction Is 'An Ongoing Battle': 'He Has His Demons To Fight With'
July 16, 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.
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.
Asked in a brand new interview with Australia's "Scars And Guitars" podcast how Jesper's health is nowadays, Niclas said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "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.