It’s hard to believe that it’s already been a decade since Swedish metal machine In Flames first appeared on the cover of Decibel. Harder still to imagine that the dreaded visage of vocalist Anders Fridén, which dB photographer Jimmy Hubbard risked bodily harm to bring to life, would soon be christened the “light-your-farts” shot by our cover story author and longtime In Flames fanboy Zach Smith. But that story—like the music of In Flames’ twelfth studio album (and first for the NYC-based Eleven Seven Music Group) Battles—has little to do with what In Flames sound like in 2016.
The first taste of that is the ironically-titled “The End,” which guitarist Björn Gelotte calls, “a fairly straightforward In Flames song. Having said that, it’s a really positive vibe [to] the song. It’s not a slash-your-wrists kind of vibe; it makes you realize to just make sure you appreciate that moment.”
Battles, which we can confirm has an official release date of November 11, was recorded in Los Angeles under the knob-twiddling of Grammy-nominated producer Howard Benson (Motörhead, Body Count, Sepultura) and marked a drastically different recording experience from Berlin-based sessions of their previous LP, 2014’s Siren Charms.
“Siren Charms had a very dark vibe to it,” Gelotte explains. “We recorded it at a cold, damp and dark time during the year in Berlin so it gave it a certain melancholy to the record. Now recording in L.A. with the sunshine it’s a different energy. The writing process was different this time, too—that I would like for us to continue to explore. Also, working with Howard and his team was great. I got stressed taking a break for even five minutes because they were always ready to go for the next take and kept my energy up.”
In Flames will become Battles-tested come January, when the quartet—rounded out by bassist Peter Iwers and guitarist Niclas Engelin—tours Europe on a triple that includes fellow arena metallers Disturbed. Euro friends, tickets are available here.
U.S. fans won’t be denied, however, as the band will almost certainly return to the U.S. some time in 2017. For today, “The End” and for the winter, Battles, will certainly highten expectations for In Flames fans.
“Guitar driven, melodic… it’s like they know what to expect,” Fridén says of the band’s fanbase. “It’s not like we’re coming out with something completely different, but at the same time it’s still new. If they already like In Flames, they will like it—and if they don’t like In Flames already, they still might like it. I’m very proud of it and hopefully people will be as well.”