In 1990, when guitarist Jesper Strömblad formed In Flames, little did he know that his band would have a profound impact on the death metal genre. Alongside the likes of Dark Tranquility and At The Gates, In Flames was instrumental in creating the sound, and subsequently the subgenre, that would become known as melodic death metal.
In Flames has forever cemented itself as one of the most historically important bands in death metal history. However, in 2010, Strömblad left the act, and in a new conversation with Scars And Guitars, he talks about what pushed him to leave and how he feels In Flames has lost “soul.”
Among the points he shares, Strömblad mentions there were creative differences between him and his bandmates; he also brings up a specific moment he experienced when he realized he really wanted out of In Flames.
Speaking to that specific moment and the creative differences taking place in In Flames, Strömblad says (as transcribed by Metal Injection):
“[That] one was too much hassle… Not ‘hassle’, but we were going in two completely different directions. I wanted to stay death metal-ish and certain individuals wanted to go more radio friendly. And it was not a good time in the band, so I decided to leave, actually. Because I felt when I was on tour… I remember one of the last shows I did, I was watching the audience and I wished I was one of the guys in the audience. ‘I don’t wanna stand up here.’ And I didn’t feel that it was fair to the people who come to see the band. And it was not fair to me or the other members. That’s when I decided to leave.”
Elsewhere in the conversation, he talks about what he thinks of In Flames today. Per Strömblad, he feels that some “soul” has been lost. Per the guitarist:
“They drastically changed. Maybe not the album after, but the later ones that came out. But they still have Björn… Something got lost, of course — something got lost. When I left, Björn was without his [songwriting partner]. He did everything himself, and they did a great job, I think. But for me, a little bit the soul disappeared, and it doesn’t have to do with me, but it has to do with [the fact that] the last original member left the band, I think a little bit. But they’re still doing great. They’re an institution. They still play to huge crowds at festivals and are doing a good job and have great musicians with them.”
Do you agree or disagree with Strömblad’s comments about modern In Flames? Do you feel that over time the band has become more “radio-friendly”?