Check out the song: “Deliver Us”

It’s usually a difficult mission to carry on with a rock band after the founding member and leader decides to leave, but somehow In Flames have soldiered on. The melodic death metal group was formed over twenty years ago by guitarist and drummer Jesper Stromblad as a side project of his then current band, Ceremonial Oath. For the next three years Stromblad was able to manage a busy schedule being in both bands until he decided to quit Ceremonial Oath due to musical differences and focus entirely on In Flames. For fifteen years, Stromblad led In Flames to great commercial and artistic notoriety throughout nine albums that collectively have sold over two million copies. Then suddenly, things began to change.

It was 2008 and In Flames was arguably at the most popular point of the group’s lengthy career. The band’s ninth studio record A Sense Of Purpose was released that April to some of the group’s highest sales figures ever, including a number one debut on the Swedish album charts and a number twenty-eight debut on the U.S. Billboard 200. This feat, along with a featured spot on Megadeth’s North American Gigantour, marked a high point in In Flames’ career and the band was finally getting the widespread recognition they so deserved. But by early 2009, trouble began to brew within the band as it was announced that Stromblad would not be participating in a tour of Australia, South America and Japan in order to get treatment for his alcohol abuse problems.

Almost exactly a year later, Stromblad announced that he was officially leaving In Flames due to personal problems and health issues that he had to take care of. His replacement would be Niklas Engelin who originally quit the band in 1998 but then started playing with them again in 2010 when Stromblad took his leave of absence. Despite the perceived strengths of Engelin as a guitarist and musician, it’s quite a blow to a band’s nucleus when its founder leaves.

Never ones to give up, the rest of In Flames soldiered on to record the recently released Sounds Of A Playground Fading. The band entered the studio in October, 2010 to begin recording and by the end of January 2011 the record was already completed. While not a complete reinvention of their sound, Sounds Of A Playground Fading again shows the band’s willingness to tweak and modify their approach. Since its release in June the record has been well received and has continued the band’s momentum with regards to mainstream success, including a number one debut on the German charts.

Currently, the band is gearing up for a three month marathon tour throughout all of Europe that will take them all the way until Christmas time. Losing a founding member is often a catastrophe for any band, but In Flames seems to have turned it into a positive step forward in an already storied, twenty year career.

Check out the song: “Alias”