THE HALO EFFECT, the new project featuring 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) — has released its debut single, "Shadowminds". The track, the official music video for which can be seen below, will appear on THE HALO EFFECT's first album, due in 2022 via Nuclear Blast.
THE HALO EFFECT comments: "We are incredibly excited to unveil this new band with one of the first songs that we wrote together. We felt strongly that this was the right direction for the band. Finding identity, finding a drive and passion is what the song is about and also what this band is about. What drove us to do this in the first place, what obstacles have we overcome in order to fully commit to this lifestyle? It's about how easy it is to get lost if you lose focus and passion for what you do.
"With the video we wanted to convey the emptiness of the city in the early stages of the pandemic and what we saw outside of the studio as we were writing but we also love the cool dystopic imagery so we made the city look even more barren and destroyed. Enjoy!"
Jens Prüter, head of A&R at Nuclear Blast Europe, adds: "In 2009, I was going to Gothenburg to produce the 'Where Death Is Most Alive' documentary for a DARK TRANQUILLITY DVD. Getting deeper into the Gothenburg scene, going through hours of archive footage and listening to all the interviews, I though it was a jungle of incest. In the early '90s, a bunch of guys moved between IN FLAMES, DARK TRANQUILLITY, CEREMONIAL OATH, HAMMERFALL and many more. We shouldn't forget that most of the protagonists were still teenagers when they released their first 'Desecrator' or 'Septic Broiler' demo tapes. What looked like incest was just a group of friends who shared a deep passion for metal. You could call it an all-star band but it's basically just an all-family band. Listening to THE HALO EFFECT is like going to a New Year's dinner enjoying the best food and drinks of the year. And it's a pleasure to be invited and share the joy with the rest of the world. Cheers!"
The initial thought behind THE HALO EFFECT was to go back to the roots and explore the classic Gothenburg Sound. The band delivers the goods in a brutally efficient display of heart pounding beats, melodic mayhem and furious growling at its best and the result is an exceptional sound to fans of melodeath, where the echoes of the Gothenburg Sound are evident.
To celebrate the signing, THE HALO EFFECT has also announced its first-ever tour, accompanying the Swedish death metal giants AMON AMARTH and U.S. metallers MACHINE HEAD on 31 dates throughout Europe.
The band comments: "We could not be more excited to partner with Cobra Agency for our first tour of Europe together with metal giants AMON AMARTH and MACHINE HEAD. Working together with people who are passionate about the road, the crews, the bands and the fans means a lot to us and doing this together is something we very much look forward to. See you in September/October!"
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.
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.
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."
THE HALO EFFECT 2022 European tour supporting AMON AMARTH and MACHINE HEAD:
Sep. 08 - UK - Nottingham - Arena
Sep. 09 - UK - Cardiff - Arena
Sep. 10 - UK - London - Wembley Arena
Sep. 12 - UK - Manchester - Arena
Sep. 13 - IE - Dublin - 3 Arena -
Sep. 16 - CH - Zurich - Hallenstadion
Sep. 17 - AT - Vienna - Stadthalle
Sep. 18 - PL - Krakow - Tauron Arena
Sep. 20 - EST - Tallinn - Saku Arena
Sep. 21 - FIN - Helsinki - Ice Hall
Sep. 23 - N - Oslo - Spektrum
Sep. 24 - S - Stockholm - Hovet
Sep. 26 - DK - Copenhagen - Forum Black Box
Sep. 27 - DE - Hamburg - Barclays Arena
Sep. 28 - DE - Frankfurt - Festhalle
Sep. 30 - DE - Oberhausen - König Pilsener Arena
Oct. 01 - DE - Berlin - Velodrom
Oct. 02 - NL - Amsterdam - Afas Live
Oct. 04 - IT - Milano - Lorenzini District
Oct. 06 - ES - Barcelona - Sant Jordi
Oct. 07 - ES - Madrid - Vistalegre
Oct. 08 - ES - La Coruna - Coliseum
Oct. 09 - P - Lisbon - Campo Pequeno
Oct. 12 - FR - Paris - Zenith
Oct. 14 - DE - Munich - Olympiahalle
Oct. 15 - DE - Leipzig - Arena
Oct. 16 - CZ - Prague - Tipsport Arena
Oct. 18 - HU - Budapest - Barba Negra
Oct. 20 - LUX - Esch zur Alzette - Rockhal
Oct. 21 - BE - Brussels - Forest National
Oct. 22 - DE - Stuttgart - Schleyerhalle