When it comes to melodic death metal, we’re not teaching you anything new when we throw around the name In Flames. We’re also not teaching you anything new when we say mention that the band reign from Sweden, the most opportunistic area in the world for melodic death metal, oh and the music coming from Sweden, and more broadly Scandinavia, are so freakin’ awesome!
The Gothenburg bred outfit are set to release their thirteenth studio album ‘Battles’ in November and are really excited for fans to listen to their current sound. We decided to hit the ‘trigger’ and give vocalist Fridén a quick buzz to catch up and find a little bit more about the band’s new record.
The front man loves the new album but of course he emphasises that it matters what fans think in the end. “The new album is the way I want it to be, but it’s up to other people to judge [it] and everyone has their right to their own opinion which is totally fine” he says diplomatically – “but I would like people to listen to the whole thing and make their own interpretation of what we are trying to do here.”
Fridén is concerned that after people listen to the singles they’ve released so far, judgements will be made before they get to listen to it conceptually, as part of a story, and with the rest of the songs on it. “It’s not my decision which songs get released first (he laughs), I think that’s the record company and the management team. I know how this industry works and [I accept that], but for me, as the creator, I want people to listen to the whole [album] and I know for a fact that some people will listen to the songs and say ‘this is not for me’ but they sort of missed the whole idea of it.”
The vocalist truly believes that you can appreciate the music in a completely different dimension when you listen to an album from start to finish. “We want to write albums that mould together in a way, its almost like in their final form, there’s a reason for this.
“I don’t know the situation down there in Australia but in Sweden we have 89% streaming these days and a lot of people don’t listen to albums [in full] like I did when I was younger.”
As Fridén adapts to the contemporary model of music, he reaffirms that the album is pretty special and that fans will hopefully enjoy it.
“It’s certainly different to the previous [album], and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Every time we write an album it’s different” he admits with an appreciation for musical creativity – “but it still [has] the essence, the chords, and the melody that makes us who we are. We aim to just write good melodies, they are created under different circumstances, different environments and so on.”
Quite interestingly, bands like I Killed the Prom Queen invested in the opportunity to record an album in Gothenburg not so long ago, and they really laced in a Nordic melodic death metal vibe. The reason of this mention, is that, In Flames chose to record the new record in LA, and the singer reckons it influenced the sound of the album.
“I think the environment recording in LA might have had an impact because the weather was so much nicer than it was when we recorded ‘Siren Charms’, which was recorded in November when it was rainy and cold” he describes reminiscently. “This time it was recorded in sunny California with barbeques all the time so that’s quite nice you know, it has an impact.”
Now that we know the band are inclined to visit sunnier areas of the world, a soft push and shove to come to Australia seems like the right move, yeah? In Flames toured a couple of years ago with Trivium on a co-headliner which Fridén really enjoyed. “We’ve known Trivium for many years now, it was really a great time. Being in Australia with friends was awesome of course, and I love Australia, it’s just that it’s so fucking far away (he laughs) that’s the problem.” Does anyone know if Tiger Airways travel from Sweden? We need to sort this out ASAP!
With the recent fold of Australia’s biggest music festival, the front man is sad to hear the end of Soundwave. “We had good times playing Soundwave, travelling with a lot of friends from a lot of bands, a chance for us to [catch up], and seeing the different bands doing their own thing. I love Australia (did he mention that already?), I love the general attitude of the people, very cool.”
“We will definitely come down to Australia on this album for sure, hopefully more than once as well. Because it’s so far away, we will have to play a few shows to come down there and make it worth happening.” We’ve got no problem with that, why don’t they come do a residency at Sydney Opera House like their homies in Opeth are doing (alas for one night)? Fridén laughs at the serious suggestion and proposes to sell a few more albums first.
Speaking of Opeth, it’s no secret that Sweden is a well-known gem for death metal in particular. From Meshuggah and Hammerfall to Nightwish and Soilwork, the country sure has a healthy export in the form of decibels. Unfortunately Fridén isn’t too fresh with the underground scene in Gothenburg since the band’s beginnings.
Despite having lived outside of Gothenburg for over ten years, the vocalist reckons the city is not quite what it used to be. “I guess it’s a different time to when we were younger, you know it was a climate when we were just a bunch of friends listening to heavy metal, and bands who were hanging out everywhere.” It seems like the ‘hang-outs’ are diminishing quite rapidly.
“Unfortunately lots of nightclubs are closing down, and you have these bands who are trying to get their name out there and trying to get to play” but they can’t do so anymore – “which is bad because playing live is an important part of a band growing up and getting to know themselves.”
In conjunction with Fridén’s adjustment to the current world of music, he knows musicians have to take a different journey to success. “It’s a tougher climate there now. Now you can just record at home and put it on the internet, but it’s hard to be heard with so much stuff coming out.”
Regardless of the changing culture in Sweden, Fridén still recalls Gothenburg a city that is true to his heart. “It’s a nice place to grow up for sure, it’s great hanging out there and creating music.” Let the Scandinavian melodic death metal live on!