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In Flames at The Crofoot, 5 Things To Know

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Friday, November 25, 2016

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In Flames was happy to do some "Battles" on its latest album.

The Swedish metal band left the dark and cold of winter in its homeland to record its 12th studio album in southern California, with hitmaking producer Howard Benson. It was a different process that yielded positive results -- and a warm reception around the world, including a No. 2 debut in its homeland and Top 10 embraces in Germany and Austria when "Battles" was released earlier this month.

Right now In Flames is looking at two or so years of touring to support the album. But guitarist and chief songwriter Bjorn Gelotte took a minute by phone from Montreal, where he was hanging out in a sports bar, to talk about a little "Battles" planning...

The making of "Battles" was a determined reaction to In Flames' last album, 2014's "Siren Charms." "We did "Siren Charms" in Germany, with all that entails -- cold, dark and gray," Gelotte, 41, recalls. It was in the winter time and all that sort of trickled into the actual sound of the record, I think. It turned a little bit melancholic in a way. So when we started talking to producers for ('Battles') we thought that, geographically, it was important for us to try something different this time, and L.A. sounded awesome, to be honest. So it was a lot of beer, a lot of barbecue, a lot of sun. I think that vibe sort of trickled into the feel of the record. I'd say it has a more sort of positive energy than Siren Charms had. It was interesting to see how (location) affected the overall sound and vibe."

Producer Benson -- whose voluminous credits range from Hoobastank to Halestorm as well as Creed, 3 Doors Down, Adam Lambert, Bon Jovi and many others -- made In Flames work a little harder than the group's usual methods. "He's an amazing producer who filtered everything we did," Gelotte says. "He wanted to make sure we stayed true to who we are. He also put some very high standards on our demos; He wanted us to do it properly so that he understood what we wanted to say and what we wanted to do. That put us in a position where we really needed to be together, me and Anders (Friden, In Flames' vocalist) especially. I was able to work with him on vocal lines, which we never did before. That was very different for us, not normally how we do things."

Gelotte and his bandmates were also impressed with the efficiency Benson and his team brought to the table. "We only did six-, seven-hour (sessions) per day and got done what we normally do in 14 hours," the guitarist explains." So we had energy left to go back to the house and write more demos and present more stuff to Howard. It was extremely efficient, very inspirational, very creative, extremely productive. We usually do 11 songs and we wound up recording 16 -- that's how productive it was."

The sessions also gave In Flames a new drummer, Joe Rickard, an American who previously worked with Red, The Wedding and Manafest. "He came in to help with the (drum) programming, and we worked really well," Gelotte says. "When he did the programming he said, 'This is pretty much how I would play it. Want me to try it out?' We just laughed, 'cause it was good already. But he did and at the end of recording we asked him to come out to dinner and said, 'Do you want to be a part of this?' It didn't even take a second before he said yes. He's been a fan of the band from before and he liked what he was doing with us. So that was something else we brought out of the sessions."

With "Battles" out, In Flames is ready for a long campaign around the globe to support it. "Well we do this tour all the way up until Christmas," Gelotte says, "then we have a week or two off and then go to the U.K. to support Avenged Sevenfold and Disturbed. That'll be fun. After that we have some mainland Europe shows, special intimate shows; We want to do something different than we normally do, not the big pyro and lights thingy. And then it's time for, my guys, to do some more touring over here, festivals, then back to Europe and do all those festivals, and then a bigger tour later on, both here and Europe. So it's going to be a very busy two or three years."

In Flames, Hellyeah and From Ashes

Friday, Nov. 25. Doors open at 6 p.m.

The Crofoot Ballroom, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac.

Tickets are $34.50 in advance, $38 day of show.

Call (248) 858-9333 or visit thecrofoot.com.

Web Site: www.thecrofoot.com

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