In Flames is a heavy metal band credited with creating the oxymoron genre of "melodic death metal".
In 1990, over in Gothenburg, Sweden, the stars aligned or some shit. Something extraterrestrial clicked, because there is no other scientific evidence for how In Flames could have been born without some sort of divine interference. Jesper Stromblad, of Ceremonial Oath, decided that he was sick of not being in a better band, so he created one. In 1993, he recruited Glenn Ljungstom (guitar), and Johan Larsson (bass) to form the first official In Flames line-up, and together they recorded a 3-song demo which they sent in to Wrong Again Records.
Hey, listen to this and take us seriously.
This was the first chapter in In Flames' badass history. We all know that breaking the rules is cool, and what's one of the coolest ways to break the rules? Fucking lie to someone's face. The trio told WAR that they already had 13 songs recorded and ready to go, when in fact, beyond the 3 song demo, they had absolutely nothing. Wrong Again turned out to be right for once, and gave In Flames a record deal.
Oh, hey record company! FUCK YOU.
That same year, In Flames wrote and recorded their first full album, "Lunar Strain". Because they hadn't found a vocalist yet, Jesper asked Mikael Stanne of Dark Tranquillity to provide session vocals. Lunar Strain was released in 1994. Later that year, they released their first EP, "Subterranean". Subterranean was such a success that it caught the eye of Nuclear Blast records, who then gave In Flames a record deal. Now that In Flames' popularity was growing, they realized session vocals would no longer cut it, and that drums sound pretty nice. That's right, a professional metal band took over a year to realize that they might need a singer and drummer. In response to this brilliant epiphany, they hired Bjorn Gelotte (drums) and Anders Friden (vocals). This 5-man lineup produced The Jester Race in 1995, and Whoracle in 1997. However, after the release of Whoracle, guitarist Glenn Ljungstrom and bassist Johan Larsson announced they were leaving the band. Niklas Engelin and Peter Iwers were hired to replace them, and this new In Flames produced the album "Colony" in 1999. Since then, In Flames has released five new albums and toured extensively, and, as of 2008, sold over two million records worldwide. They are the only item in existence to have been In Flames consistently for over 16 years, without dying.
Anders Friden isn't only badass, he's clutch-your-balls-whilst-ringed-in-angelic-lights-and-sparks badass.
Ok, it's been well established that heavy metal has been known for being as awesome as possible. Loud, dueling guitar solos, thumping drums, a solid bass backing and a dominating lead singer are all of the necessary components to make your metal band sound like the apocalypse. But that's only half of it. You've gotta make your band look like the apocalypse. Let's see how In Flames does.
The Jester Race
Do the words GIANT FUCKING EVIL CASTLE sound metal to you? Add to that the stylzed In Flames logo that makes it look even more sinister and top it off with an eerie cloud-filled sky and the product is nothing short of pants-shittingly heavy metal. The Jester Race gets an A+.
Holy shit! The title of this album is enough for us to ruin a good pair of pants! A mutated snake-woman trying to escape from a fiery apocalpyse is the exact formula for a metalhead boner. The logo this time is sort of bland but any more awesome stuffed into these dimensions would cause a rift in the universe. A+.
Is that a giant zombie monster mutating from the ruins of civilization? Is the entire album cover blood red? Yes, on both accounts you say? Excellent work, except for the text. It's the most non-metal font ever. So, fiery zombie ruins or Helvetica Neue? We give Colony a B.
The good: Fire, and lots of it. Ancient artifacts are always a plus. The bad: Why is In Flames burning Vitruvian Man? He kicked all sorts of ancient anatomy ass. Once again, the fonts suck. Come on, In Flames. What the fuck sort of title is Clayman anyways? At best, a C+.
Reroute to Remain
Really dumb title to begin with, but with a kickass subtitle: Fourteen Songs of Conscious Sanity. It's bright white, which usually doesn't scream, you know, black metal. But it does feature an army of decrepid zombies, and you can never have too many of those. The fonts get even blander. B-.
Soundtrack to Your Escape
The title sounds like In Flames trying to be the lame bands that want to be them. What a way to start off an album: a complete mindfuck of a title. The art itself is kinda of cool. Oh, did we say cool? We meant fucking lame. What is that thing? A big CD? The colors mix very well but what the hell is it? It isn't metal. D+.
Filler space, give us a fucking break
Come Clarity sounds like the title of a country album. But that's where the negatives end. It's a goddamn person ripping out his own heart and bleeding to death. FUCK this is what metal is all about. It might be solid white, but that makes the red blood even better. Bad-fucking-ass. A-.
A Sense of Purpose
What sounds like a introspective progressive album certainly doesn't look like it. It's a guy with a giant mutated raccoon head... and there are tentacles... bright colors and a door that looks like a sinister vagina with teeth. Uhhh... at least the logo for In Flames is back to awesomeness again. We give it a B-.
Haha, Kongas...you crazy Swedes
In Flames has been awarded four Grammis awards (the Swedish equivalent of the Grammy Awards) to date. In 2005, In Flames won their first Grammis award in the category of Best Hard Rock/Metal Album for Soundtrack to Your Escape. In 2006, In Flames won the Swedish Export Award, their second Grammis award. In Flames was the first metal band to ever win that award and the Swedish economy minister at the time, Thomas Ostros, was quoted as saying "Thanks to In Flames, Sweden now have a metal band in the absolute world elite." That is a real quote, and it is fucking badass. In 2007, In Flames once again won the category of Best Hard Rock/Metal Album for Come Clarity. They have also won the "Best International Band" award from the Metalhammer Golden Gods in 2008. In 2009, In Flames won another Grammis for "Best Hard Rock" for A Sense Of Purpose.
In Flames' mascot is "The Jester Head". It is the head of a creepy looking jester. And that is all. Elegance lies in simplicity.