In Flames' brand of melodic death metal is dramatic by nature. But "Sounds of a Playground Fading, the Swedish quintet's 10th studio album, was accompanied by some additional drama.
It's the first time the group has recorded without founding guitarist and chief songwriter Jesper Stromblad, who left In Flames during February of 2010 -- a move that was not surprising to his bandmates, according to drummer Daniel Svensson.
"It was weird," Svensson, 34, acknowledges. We'd been playing together for a long time, and we were like family. But on the other hand, this didn't really come as a shock. (Stromblad) had some issues. He didn't go out on tour with us for awhile, so it didn't really come as a shock. We knew it was coming."
In Flames had, in fact, already recruited Niclas Engelin to replace Stromblad on the road, although Brjorn Gelotte, the group's other guitarist, played all the parts and wrote all the music on "Sounds of a Playground Fading." And despite the enormous change, Svensson says the 22-year-old group didn't feel a great deal of pressure while working on the album.
"We've been doing this for so long, we know who we are and what we can do," Svensson explains. "And basically we do this for ourselves. We don't write music for anyone else. It's great people like what we do, but at the end of the day it's the five of us who have to play the songs over and over again.
"We would never release an album we're not satisfied with. We have our own studio so we didn't really have time pressure or anything. We can just continue working in the studio until we're happy, which is the best way to make good music."
In Flames, Trivium, Veil of Maya and Kyng perform Friday, Jan. 13 at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $20. Call 248-399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.
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