When the pandemic forced In Flames to truncate the tour in support of their 2019 album, I, the Mask, the band went home to Sweden in a state of insecurity. Vocalist Anders Fridén began ruminating upon the nature of lost time—and how we deal with time in general. “What do we do with time?” he asks Apple Music. “If you know your time is up, how do you act? What do you say? What do you think? Do you regret a lot of things? If we know everything is going wrong, would we change? Would we act different?” Fridén and his bandmates—guitarist Björn Gelotte, bassist Bryce Paul Newman, drummer Tanner Wayne, and new guitarist Chris Broderick (ex-Megadeth)—ponder these questions and more on In Flames’ 14th album, Foregone. In combining the melodic death metal of their classic ’90s albums with the more modern metalcore approach of their recent output, In Flames have struck a delicate balance between two disparate musical eras. But it’s ultimately the lyrical content that proves most different from that of the band’s vast back catalog. “Most of our previous albums have been me looking inside and dealing with my own demons,” Fridén explains. “This one is more observational about the world around us.” Below, he comments on each song. “The Beginning of All Things” “The track ‘Foregone’ was going to be a three-parter at first. Our intention was to have a slow track first, then something really calm, then hit with an aggressive track at the end. But when Björn played this for me the first time, I knew it was an intro rather than a part of ‘Foregone.’ It sets the mood perfectly for the album. We used it for the intro on our previous tour, and it works really well. It has that Swedish melancholy and invites you into the album. Then, with the next track, all hell breaks loose.” “State of Slow Decay” “It’s like the DNA of In Flames, in a sense. It has the melody, the aggression, and then everything that we are known for. As soon as we wrote it, and I heard all the pieces together, I knew it was not something we would hide in the back of the album. This is where we set the pace. I think people will feel familiar with it because it has that In Flames sound. Whether you like it or not, we have a certain sound that is ours, and this is really ground zero for that.” “Meet Your Maker” “That was one of the first songs that we wrote, so it really set the vibe of the album with the double bass and the guitar upfront and the huge chorus that we have become known for in our later career. Going into this album, we talked about how we wanted to bring the guitars a little bit more in the front and have the drums a bit more punchy than in the past. I think this song is definitely telling that story. When we finished it, we felt we were on the right track.” “Bleeding Out” “We have so many faces and styles, but this one is a bit more open. I wanted something that was a little more calming after the assault of ‘State of Slow Decay’ and ‘Meet Your Maker.’ This is heavy, but it’s rooted in a Swedish folk-music tradition—but obviously reworked and done our way. It has a sad tone overall, but it’s big and groovy, and Chris’ solos are amazing.” “Foregone Pt. 1” “At first, part one was supposed to be part two and vice versa. But then I felt the heavier track had to be part one, especially coming out of ‘Bleeding Out.’ This is one of the heavier songs we’ve done, I think. There are similarities lyrically—and especially instrumentally—between the two parts of this song. Some of the riffs and melodies are in both songs, but they are reworked. I think people will feel the connection between the two.” “Foregone Pt. 2” “Part two is such a contrast to part one, which was super necessary, dynamically, for the album. This one is less heavy, but to me, it’s like listening back to albums like The Jester Race and Whoracle that we did in the ’90s. With [the songs] ‘Moonshield’ and ‘Gyroscope,’ we had that very—again—Swedish folk melody, which was an inspiration for us in the early days. This definitely has that and reminds me a lot of that time.” “Pure Light of Mind” “We’ve done a few ballads or slow songs in the past, and we really wanted something like that for this album. But it had to have a meaning—it had to have a place and still be heavy. To me, this is a celebration, but it has a sad undertone to it. I can really see this being a sing-along-type song live. Vocally, I approached it a different way because I’ve never really done that type of falsetto verse before. For me, it’s fun to do something that’s a little bit challenging because it’s so easy to go back to what you know. So, I did it, and it worked really well.” “The Great Deceiver” “This is the song that changed faces the most. It’s almost like punk-ish In Flames, but it started out kind of plain, to be honest. I’ve heard these riffs before again and again, so I told Björn that we have to attack this song in a different way. So, we changed a few things around—definitely the drums—and now I think it could be my favorite of the album. Tanner, our drummer, should get big props for being patient and listening to us. The way he executed this is amazing, and so are his drums all over the album.” “In the Dark” “This is another heavy song with a sad undertone. It’s got a big, open chorus that I’m looking forward to doing live. All these songs are meant to be played live, by the way. That’s how we approach music these days. Back in the day, it was more like, ‘Let’s see how many guitars we can add on top of each other!’ But now we write for two guitar players because that’s what we have onstage. A lot of people have told me this song is their favorite, so we might be onto something here.” “A Dialogue in B Flat Minor” “Lyrically, this is about mental health. It’s the talk we have with ourselves, and how easy it is to be locked up in that. So, there’s an inner dialogue going on between me, in this case, and whatever it might be. The song is written in B-flat minor, so that’s where the title comes from. We wrote it as an opening track for a live set, where you start off with the drummer and bass player, then one guitar player walks on, then the next guitar player walks on, and then I come in at the end.” “Cynosure” “This one is bass-heavy, like a tank rolling forward or something. The beginning really showcases Bryce and what he does on bass. And obviously, Tanner is showing off his skills on this one, too. It’s almost like a drum solo after the second chorus. Vocally, I just took a step back and followed the rhythm more than anything else. It has a different vibe, but I really like how this song turned out.” “End the Transmission” “The very last transmission after it’s over. That’s the lyrical concept: We’re done here. I say, ‘Hell is overcrowded, and heaven is full of sinners.’ Wherever we go in our afterlife, I don’t think it’s judged upon what we do. Whatever place is bad enough. I haven’t done a repetitive chorus for a while, but I wanted to repeat something almost like a mantra. So, I say, ‘End the transmission.’”


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