Five former members of the Swedish metal band IN FLAMES — Jesper Strömblad (guitar), Daniel Svensson (drums), Peter Iwers (bass), Niclas Engelin (guitar), and Mikael Stanne (vocals) — have launched a new project called THE HALO EFFECT. So far, only a promotional photo of the new outfit has been released, with the promise of more information to follow soon.
A founding member of IN FLAMES, Strömblad quit the band in February 2010 in order to continue receiving treatment for his alcohol addiction. Five years ago, Jesper slammed his former bandmates, calling the group a “sinking ship” and saying IN FLAMES singer Anders Fridén has “never been a songwriter.” Svensson, who joined IN FLAMES in 1998, announced in 2015 that he was leaving the group to focus on his family life. A member of IN FLAMES since 1997, Iwers issued a statement in November 2016 saying that he was exiting the band “to pursue other endeavors.”
Engelin has been sitting out IN FLAMES’ tour dates for the past two and a half years but has never officially confirmed his departure from the band. Engelin’s replacement for IN FLAMES’ live shows for most of 2019 and early 2020 has been former MEGADETH and current ACT OF DEFIANCE guitarist Chris Broderick. When Engelin was asked in an August 2020 interview with the “MetalBreak” podcast what his “future” with IN FLAMES was, he responded, “I choose to pass on that [question],” before quickly adding, “I’m still in the band.” As of last year, Engelin was not listed as a member of IN FLAMES on the band’s Facebook page (Broderick was), and he is not featured in any of IN FLAMES’ current promotional photos from the group’s record label, Nuclear Blast.
IN FLAMES recruited American drummer Tanner Wayne, best known for his work with UNDERMINDED, SCARY KIDS SCARING KIDS, and CHIODOS, to sit behind the kit for the band for its 2018, 2019, and 2020 live appearances. Wayne stepped into IN FLAMES following the departure of Joe Rickard, who played on the band’s “I, The Mask” and “Battles” albums. Shortly after leaving IN FLAMES, Iwers joined CYHRA, the band featuring vocalist Jake E (ex-AMARANTHE) and Strömblad. He announced his departure from that band in May 2018.
IN FLAMES’ current lineup features American bassist Bryce Paul Newman, who has been playing most of the shows with the group since Iwers’s exit.
During a January 2021 appearance on the “Vox&Hops” podcast, Iwers was asked if he ever misses being on the road. The bassist replied: “Yeah, absolutely. Well, ‘miss’ is kind of the wrong word. I loved being on the road for most of the years that I was with [IN FLAMES], and I miss the good times. I have no regrets as far as leaving, but, of course, sometimes I really miss just being free and out and playing shows and traveling to new places every day. But I have plans. Maybe this will happen again in the future — not with IN FLAMES, though, but, yeah, we’ll see.”
He continued: “I’m kind of not missing spending time thinking about stuff like that. I’m kind of more living where I am now, where I’m actually free to do whatever I can with my own time. I own my own time, as I like to say; I can plan it however I like it. And I’m kind of focusing on enjoying that rather than missing the past.
“It’s fun to reminisce, but at the same time, it can take you down a dangerous road as well,” Peter added.
In a 2017 interview with Ireland’s Overdrive, IN FLAMES guitarist Björn Gelotte said that he wasn’t surprised by Peter’s departure from the band. “It wasn’t a ‘shock,’ so to speak, as we kind of knew that it was coming,” he said. “I think he was just done with it all and not happy. No, ‘happy’ is the wrong word. He just wanted to pursue other things. Peter is a very, very busy guy. He has his own brewery with Daniel called Odd Island Brewing and he’s also got four or five different musical projects happening, so he’s really got his hands full at the moment.”
A year ago, DARK TRANQUILITY vocalist Mikael Stanne, who sang on IN FLAMES’ debut album, 1994’s “Lunar Strain”, dismissed comparisons between the two bands, telling the “BREWtally Speaking Podcast”: “We are kind of forever linked, just because of our connection early on. I sang on the first IN FLAMES album, and Anders sang on the first DARK TRANQUILLITY album, and this is still a cause of great confusion for some reason. But, yeah, we toured together, we are friends and we grew up together in the same area outside of town [in Gothenburg, Sweden]. So, of course, it’s obvious. And I’m okay with that — that’s fine. It just becomes a little bit old, because there’s not much to say about it anymore, because we’ve gone in very different directions. So it’s not relevant, but, of course, you do make comparisons — that’s how people work, how you go, ‘I like this band better than that band.’ And if there is a link somehow, and there are many between the two of us, then you use that as some kind of reference or, ‘This is better than that,’ or, ‘The guitar player is better in that band’ — that kind of stuff. So I’m okay with it. It doesn’t change anything. And sometimes questions about it tend to be uninspired. It’s just like, ‘Oh, what do you think of the other band’s albums?’ It’s, like, ‘It doesn’t matter, but I’m a huge fan. I love it.’ And it’s the same with, of course, AT THE GATES as well, even though we haven’t shared any members together, but we still kind of grew up together, so, obviously, there’s a huge connection there as well. And I don’t mind talking about my friends and the awesome bands that are from this town — it’s fine — but sometimes the direct comparisons seem… Maybe they meant something in the ’90s, but they really don’t anymore.”