In Flames

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Logo of the band
Logo of the band

In Flames are a Melodic Death Metal band from Sweden. It was founded in 1990 and can be named to the most important bands of the Melodic Death Metal besides Dark Tranquillity, At The Gates and Soilwork. But in the former years the band went on distance to their roots and changed their sound with ideas of the „modern“ metal. Commercial seen, In Flames is one of the most successfull swedish bands ever. The band has published 9 studio albums so far and one DVD. The latest album called „A Sense of Purpose“ was released at the 4th of april 2008.

History and Evolution

1990-93 The Beginnings

The band was founded in 1990 as a project by Jesper Strömblad. He played at this time in a band called „Ceremonial Oath“ and he didn't had any influences on songwriting here. As he liked to play / compose more melodic songs, he founded In Flames. Three years later Strömblad left Ceremonial Oath and focused on In Flames totally. Together with the guitarist Glenn Ljungström and the bassist Johan Larsson the first line up was complete. They played as a trio and recorded a demotape with 3 songs. The tape was sent to Wrong Again Records. To increase their chances of getting a record deal, they lied, and wrote to the lable, that they had already written 13 songs. Still the band got their record deal. It's said that the offer for a record deal was made via telephone.

1994-96: The early times...

In Flames performing live
In Flames performing live

Their self-produced album called „Lunar strain“ was recorded in 1993 in the Fredman Studio. As the band had no singer at this time, Srömblad asked his mate Miakel Stanne to sing (today he's part of Dark Tranquility). He agreed and Lunar Strain could appear in 1994. Still in the same year they released the EP „Subterreanean“. This EP also was sung by a guest-singer because In Flames still had no singer. (Henke Forss). As In Flames didnt wanted to get new musicans and singers for every gig or recording session, they decided to get a firm singer: Anders Fridén. Björn Gelotte became the new drummer. With this lineup the album „The Jester Race“ appeared in 1996. This album was their breakthrough in the metal scene and can be seen as a classic must-hear album. It should become an influence for the Melodic Death Metal and also the Metalcore style. In the following, In Flames went on Europe tour, together with Kreator, Samael and Grip Inc.

1997-2001: international success

In Flames performing live
In Flames performing live

1997 In Flames went back to the studios to record the 3rd studio album called „Whoracle“. After this recordings Ljungström and Larsson left the band to have time for other (musical) projects. Their positions were re-filled with Nicklas Engelin (guitar) and Peter Iwers (bass). With the new line up In Flames played a little tour together with Dimmu Borgir. But Engelin shouldn't stay forever; in 1997 he left the band. The drummer Gelotte changed therefore to the guitar and was replaced through the former Sacrilege Drummer Daniel Svensson. Up to today, this was the last change in the line up. The first album with this final formation was Colony that appeared in 1999. After another successful tour trough europe and japan, In Flames played their first gig in the USA on the Milwaukee Metal Festival. A year later, the very successful album Clayman appeared, that was little experimental. It took 3 months in the studio until it could be released in august. In 2000 the band played more than 150 gigs with bands like Dream Theater, Testament or Slipknot. In 2001 the band took kind of a break, only some gigs and no new recordings were made.

2002 - ? Style change

Cover of their album Reroute to Remain
Cover of their album Reroute to Remain

As In Flames wanted to go on new ways, they decided to change the bandlogo for the 2nd time (first time was in 1997), record into another studio and work with a new producer. They became happy with the Dug Out-Studio and the producer Daniel Bergstrand. „Reroute to Remain“ increased the popularity of the band even more, while a lot of the older fans of the band were disappointed. After two headliner tours through Europe and North America In Flames was asked to support Metallica. They accepted. In 2003 they recorded their 7th studio album „Soundtrack to Your Escape“. The songs here are very experimental and there is lots of argue beneath the fans, whether its good or not. In 2005 the band signed a contract with the US-lable Ferret Music to increase their music in North-America. On the 3rd february 2006 the album „come Clarity“ appeared, on which you can find In Flames with their very own style but with some backdrifts to the earlier albums. In september 2007 the band recorded their 9th studioalbum in their own studio that was called „A Sense of Purpose“.


Music + guitar work

In Flames performing live
In Flames performing live

When In Flames was founded, Jesper Strömblad wanted to make music, that combined the guitar work of Iron Maiden with the „weight“ and darkness of Death Metal. Besides that, the band uses since their beginning Keyboards a – to this time – unsual instrument for metal bands. Still they never thought about adding a firm keyboarder to their band. Typically for In Flames is the permanent use of two guitars that harmonizes each other (there's a nice lick of the day, to that topic – check it out if something is unclear to you about harmonisation!) and play above the sound of a rythm guitar. As the guitar has only 2 guitarists, the band has always some problems to perform their songs live. Because of that, the band always takes attention, whether the songs they write, are perform-able live. Whether the band can today still be called Melodic Death Metal is a often discussed question. In Flames are often counted in the genre of Metalcore, even if some typical core elements are missing in their music – breakdown for example.

vocals and lyrics

Over the time, the lyrics have changed their topics; in the early albums the songs talked about global questions like the future of humanity etc. Since the album Soundtrack to your Escape, there are more personal and emotional Feelings and thoughs in the middle. In the early times their singer Friedén used mainly growling, later on the singing area was enlarged with Screams and shouts and from time to time you can also hear a clear, „normal“ singing.

Jester Head

their mascot "Jester Head"
their mascot "Jester Head"

This is the mascot of the band, the idea for it came singer Friedén during the recordings for the „The Jester RacE“ album. There he appeard on the cover of the album. Since this point of time, you can see this mascot from time to time on the covers, T-shirts and other merchandise-articles of the bamd.


studio albums

   * Lunar Strain (1994)
   * The Jester Race (1996)
   * Whoracle (1997)
   * Colony (1999)
   * Clayman (2000)
   * Reroute to Remain (2002)
   * Soundtrack to Your Escape (2004)
   * Come Clarity (2006)
   * A Sense of Purpose (2008)


1995 "Artifacts of the Black Rain"

1997 "Food for the Gods"

1997 "Jotun"

1999 "Ordinary Story"

2000 "Only for the Weak"

2002 "Pinball Map"

2002 "Trigger"

2002 "Cloud Connected"

2003 "System"

2004 "The Quiet Place"

2004 "Touch of Red"

2004 "My Sweet Shadow"

2004 "Like You Better Dead"

2004 "Evil In A Closet"

2004 "Borders and Shading"

2004 "F®iend"

2006 "Take This Life"

2006 "Come Clarity"

2008 "The Mirror's Truth"


In Flames
In Flames

In Flames are a Melodic Death Metal band formed in 1990, Gothenburg, Sweden by Jesper Stromblad. In Flames was intended to be Jesper's side project as he was already part of a band called Ceremonial Oath. When the band formed it consisted of Jesper Stromblad, Johan Larsson and Glenn Ljungstrom.

Soon after In Flames formed, Jesper left Ceremonial Oath to concentrate on his new project. In Flames recorded a demo tape and sent it to numerous record companies in an attmept to get signed. Eventually In Flames were noticed as strong potential by Wrong Again Records. After In Flames told them they had more material to offer they were signed. Soon after In Flames began writing and recording their first album, Lunar Strain.

Lunar Strain and Subterranean

It took In Flames 4 years since forming to release their first real album. At the time of recording their first album, In Flames didn't have a vocalist. Jesper asked Dark Tranquillity's Mikael Stanne to provide vocals for In Flames' first album together.

In 1994 Lunar Strain was released which became very popular in the Scandinavian Death Metal Scene. In the same year, In Flames also recorded and released their first EP called Subterranean. In Flames still didn't have a vocalist at the time so Henke Forss provided vocal duties for this record. Subterranean was the push for In Flames to get out of the underground scene and soon after were offered a deal from Nuclear Blast. In 1996 In Flames eventually recruited 2 new band members, Bjorn Gellotte who would play drums and Anders Friden to be their main vocalist.

The Jester Race, Whoracle and Colony

When In Flames released The Jester race it became a huge success across most of Europe. The Jester Race is considered as one of the albums that kicked off the Gothenburg sound, along with Dark Tranquillity's "The Gallery" and At The Gates' "Slaughter of the Soul".

In 1997 In Flames had their third album, Whoracle released through Nuclear Blast. Whoracle was the second album to feature Anders Friden on vocals. After the album was released, Glenn and Johan left the band mainly for personal reasons. Peter Iwers and Niklas Engelin took their place as Bass player and Guitarist. However after In Flames' European tour, Engelin left In Flames.

In 1998 Bjorn Gellotte switched to guitar and In Flames recruited Daniel Svensson, making the In Flames lineup as it stands today. With the new lineup in 1999 In Flames released Colony, which made In Flames even more popular. So much so that In Flames were selling out venues all across Europe. With each album In Flames became bigger and bigger worldwide.

Clayman to Present

With a full lineup, In Flames became one of the most popular Swedish bands around. In 2000 In Flames released Clayman, their 5th Studio album. After In Flames finished touring, in 2001 they released a live album called "The Tokyo Showdown".

Clayman was where In Flames mainly met their modern sound. Since Clayman there haven't been drastic changes like there have been in the run up to it. Reroute to Remain and Soundtrack To Your Escape has remained a similar style to In Flames sound.

The Gothenburg Sound

In Flames are 1 of 3 bands said to be responsible for the "Gothenburg Sound" which is better known today as Melodic Death Metal. It gets its name from the Iron Maiden style guitar parts with a Death Metal aggresive sound. In Flames' Melodic Death Metal ways also uses a lot of harmonised guitar parts as well.

In Flames, Dark Tranquillity and At The Gates all shared a similar interest in the style and can be heard through most of the first few albums especially. In Flames has been the most succesful out of the 3 to date and have remained a huge influence for many new Melodic Death Metal bands.

Albums and Tracklisting

Lunar Strain
1. Behind Space
2. Lunar Strain
3. Starforsaken
4. Dreamscape
5. Everlost, Part I
6. Everlost, Part II
7. Hargalaten
8. In Flames
9. Upon An Oaken Throne
10. Clad In Shadows

The Jester Race
1. Moonshield
2. The Jester's Dance
3. Artifacts Of The Black Rain
4. Graveland
5. Lord Hypnos
6. Dead Eternity
7. The Jester Race
8. December Flower
9. Wayfaerer
10. Dead God In Me

1. Jotun
2. Food For The Gods
3. Gyroscope
4. The Hive
5. Dialogue With The Stars
6. Jester Script Transfigured
7. Morphing Into Primal
8. Worlds Within The Margin
9. Episode 666
10. Everything Counts
11. Whoracle

1. Embody The Invisible
2. Ordinary Story
3. Scorn
4. Colony
5. Zombie Inc.
6. Pallar Anders Visa
7. Coerced Coexistence
8. Resin
9. Behind Space '99
10. Inspired 2000
11. The New Word

1. Bullet Ride
2. Pinball Map
3. Only For The Weak
4. ... As The Future Repeats Today
5. Square Nothing
6. Clayman
7. Satellites and Astronauts
8. Brush The Dust Away
9. Swim
10. Suburban Me
11. Another Day In Quicksand

Reroute To Remain
1. Reroute To Remain
2. System
3. Drifter
4. Trigger
5. Cloud Connected
6. Transparent
7. Dawn Of A New Day
8. Egonomic
9. Minus
10. Dismiss The Cynics
11. Free Fall
12. Dark Signs
13. Metaphor
14. Black & White

Soundtrack To Your Escape
1. F®iend
2. The Quiet Place
3. Dead Alone
4. Touch Of Red
5. Like You Better Dead
6. My Sweet Shadow
7. Evil In A Closet
8. In Search For I
9. Borders And Shading
10. Superhero Of The Computer Rage
11. Dial 595-Escape
12. Bottled

Come Clarity
1. Take This Life
2. Leeches
3. Reflect The Storm
4. Dead End
5. Scream
6. Come Clarity
7. Vacuum
8. Pacing Deaths Trail
9. Crawl Through Knives
10. Versus Terminus
11. Our Infinite Struggle
12. Vanishing Light
13. Your Bedtime Story Is Scaring Everyone

A Sense Of Purpose
1. The Mirror's Truth
2. Disconnected
3. Sleepless Again
4. Alias
5. I'm The Highway
6. Delight And Angers
7. Move Through Me
8. The Chosen Pessimist
9. Sober And Irrelevant
10. Condemned
11. Drenched In Fear
12. March To The Shore

Members and Past Members


Anders Friden - Vocals
Jesper Stromblad - Guitar
Bjorn Gelotte - Guitar
Peter Iwers - Bass
Daniel Svensonn - Drums

Past Members

Glenn Ljungstrom - Guitar
Johan Larsson - Bass
Niklas Engelin - Guitar

Related GMC Lessons

Melodic Death Metal

Modern Metal Lesson 2

See also

In Flames Website

In Flames Myspace