When In Flames released single State Of Slow Decay in June, many people rejoiced. After years of fobbing off the melodeath genre they helped define in favour of metalcore and softer alt metal, they’d re-embraced thrashing rhythms and athletic guitar leads.
That juggernaut, which was followed by the anthemic The Great Deceiver, was the world’s first taste of their 14th album, Foregone. Frontman Anders Fridén vows that the rest of the record will follow suit, aggravated by a world-pausing pandemic and humanity’s shithouse behaviour.
Is this album a throwback to classic In Flames?
“It’s a mix between the past, the present and wherever we’re going. This fucking pandemic brought out so much frustration and anger. Me and Björn [Gelotte, guitars] talked about how – as much as I love the guys we’re working with, like [producer] Howard Benson – we were missing that guitar attack. The driving force of In Flames is the mix between melody and aggression, and we’ve been lacking that for a little bit.”
When did you have that conversation?
“Before anything was written. We talked about it when we were gearing up for the album. This is the album we had to do. I think he felt frustrated, and I felt frustrated sitting at home, as well as over the state of the world in general.”
Why did you find the pandemic so frustrating?
“It cut off the I, The Mask touring cycle and we had to go home. For that first year, it was: ‘The world’s gonna open again.’ Then the world shut down again! I didn’t get to see Björn – he’s in Gothenburg and I’m in Stockholm – so when we finally got back in a room together, this fucking thing ignited!”
Are the lyrics about how you viewed the world during the pandemic?
“On The Great Deceiver, I sing about ‘a two-year break to reset our brains’, and that was me hoping. I felt that the world was on pause and that we’d come out the other side as better people. But it’s gone in the other direction. The world is more hostile. You can’t say this, can’t say that, everyone’s pointing fingers. The pandemic was over and then there is a war in Europe. All of that is fuelling the lyrics on this album.”
How representative are State Of Slow Decay and The Great Deceiver of the rest of the music on the album?
“I think we have a wide variety of songs. It’s not like we dropped the two heaviest songs and the rest are ballads. Ha ha! To me, this is the best representation of In Flames. I am fucking stoked! I think people will be surprised.”
“That it’s that good! Ha ha!”
This is your first album with Chris Broderick on guitar. Is he officially a member? And is Niclas Engelin well and truly out of the band?
“Chris is the guitar player of In Flames, together with Björn, for sure. Niclas is busy doing other stuff, so yeah.”
Does Chris have songwriting credits?
“Björn and I write the bulk of the material – like the structures of the songs, the riffs and the lyrics – but Chris has been writing some solos. Björn and I feel so excited about this line-up; we’ve been touring for a while and we took all of that energy into the studio.”
You’re touring Europe with At The Gates. How will their fans take to the new material?
“Great! We were brought up together: Tomas Lindberg [At The Gates’ singer] and I lived in the same neighbourhood. Musically, In Flames and At The Gates drifted apart, but now we are back together on the same path. I think it really works.”
Foregone is due February 10 via Nuclear Blast