Dec 12

The Swedish Connection: A Conversation with Niclas Engels of In Flames



Swedish melodic death metal pioneers In Flames had transformed their sound since the release of Lunar Strain (1994) time and time again, and for some reason every time they released an album they had encountered some sort of critical resistance. Like, there was some sort of ‘critical In Flames task force‘ among their fans in charge of criticized the band at every turn. Well, the released of Siren Charms (the band’s eleventh studio album) released this year, was not the exception to that as once again their fans are divided.

In Flames is without doubt an important piece of the ‘Gothenburg sound’ that created and defined the concept of melodic death metal back in the 90’s, but they also have been the band that has gained more success out of the ones that were once part of that movement. This had taken the band all around the world making them well-known, but also for some reason they had gain a strong critical fan base that slams every record the band had put out as ‘a change to their sound’.

The truth is that In Flames has not change their sound much, but in the contrary it has evolved from some primitive melodic death metal to something more elaborated, that had the power to reach new fans, and turn away others. Siren Charms has that power, the album is somber, gloomy, and very complex. Without leaving the In Flames trademark sound, it also could appear very catchy, and clean at times which could easily appeal to a more mainstream & radio friendly audience.

With this in mind, I got to see In Flames live a couple of days ago as they are on a co-headlining tour with Swedish compatriots Opeth. Their live show was amazing as the production delivered at Marquee Theater was top-notch, and we are talking big sounds, big lights, the works. The sound of the In Flames live is flawless and the performance of the new songs live determined how fitting they are to the moment that the band is living now.

It was a great show, that puts on perspective the work behind the new album, it reflects the place where In Flames is now, and makes an statement on what is the band’s legacy at the moment. Before the show The Age Of Metal had the chance to speak with Niclas Engelin guitar player of In Flames. We talked deeply about Siren Charms, the criticism the band had received, and the reasons why the album sounds the way it does. We also talked about Niclas’s other bands EngelDrömriket.

Pictures: In Flames at Marquee Theater. Tempe, AZ (12/10/14)

Opeth, In Flames and Red Fang 2014 North American Tour Dates:

12/3 – Chicago, Ill. @ Riviera Theater
12/4 – Minneapolis, Minn. @ Mill City Nights
12/5 – Omaha, Neb. @ Sokol Auditorium
12/6 – Denver, Colo. @ Ogden Theater
12/8 – San Francisco, Calif. @ Warfield
12/9 – Los Angeles, Calif. @ Palladium
12/10 – Tempe, Ariz. @ The Marquee Theater
12/12 – Houston, Texas @ Warehouse Live
12/13 – Dallas, Texas @ Gas Monkey Live
12/15 – Atlanta, Ga. @ Tabernacle
12/17 – Philadelphia, Pa. @ Electric Factory
12/18 – New York, N.Y. @ Terminal 5
12/19 – Worcester, Mass. @ Palladium
12/20 – Montreal, Quebec @ Metropolis
12/21 – Toronto, Ontario @ Koolhaus


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