Our top 10 In Flames songs list presents the songs of a Swedish band regarded as one of the pioneers of melodic death metal and Swedish death metal genres. The band was formed by the artist Jesper Strömblad in 1990 as his side project. At this time, Jesper was a bassist at Ceremonial Oath, a Swedish metal band. His desire to have a side project was inspired by his purpose to pen songs with a more melodic direction, something he was barely permitted to do at Ceremonial Oath. Jesper quit the band in 1993 owing to the musical differences between his desire and the band’s musical direction.
His departure from Ceremonial Oath allowed Jesper to focus on his band In Flames, where he recruited guitarist Glenn Ljungström and bassist Johan Larsson forming the band’s initial lineup. Jesper led the trio in recording a demo of three songs, sending it to Wrong Again Records, who signed the band for a recording contract. He also supported his fellow Ceremonial Oath bandmate Oscar Dronjak in songwriting for his band HammerFall in 1993. Jesper played this role for the next four years while still focusing on his project In Flames. In 1994, the band released its debut album, Lunar Strain. The band had no vocalist at this time; hence ended up having Mikael Stanne of Dark Tranquility offering session vocals for the album.
The band recorded and produced its first EP, Subterranean, in 1994. In Flame had Henke Forss of the extreme metal band Dawn provide session vocals for the EP. Thanks to Subterranean EP, the band acquired a recording contract with Nuclear Blast, a reputable metal record label. In 1995, In Flames tagged Anders Fridén as the band’s full-time vocalist and Björn Gelotte as the band’s full-time drummer. At this time, Jesper started a side project Dimension Zero with his former guitarist Glenn Ljungström. With the new lineup, the band went on to record its sophomore studio album, The Jester Race (1996).
In Flames continued releasing music touring with iconic artists/acts such as Lacuna Coil, Sepultura, Motörhead, Killswitch Engage, Judas Priest, and Mudvayne. However, founder Jesper Strömblad announced that he would no longer tour with the band in February 2009 following the need to fix his alcohol abuse issues. A year later, Jesper left the band permanently, citing personal and health issues. The band maintained its musical direction, establishing itself as an avid melodic death metal act. In Flames has been regarded as one of the major influences of melodic death metal scene alongside At The Gates and Dark Tranquility. Here are the top 10 In Flames songs from this Grammy Award-winning band’s thirteen studio albums.
#10- Only for The Weak
Opening up our top 10 In Flames songs is the concert staple “Only for The Weak.” The song was written by Anders Fridén for the band’s album Clayman (2000). “Only for The Weak” is delivered in heavy beats that leaves the audience in the band’s concerts in awe. Like most of the song’s in the album Clayman (2000), “Only for The Weak” pairs ostentatious Iron Maiden-inspired guitar riffs that add to the song’s melodic vibe. The song was among the hits in Clayman (2000) that offered In Flames a career-defining reinvention.
#9- Deliver Us
“Deliver Us” is one song released on the band’s album Sounds of a Playground Fading (2011). The album came after the departure of the band’s founding guitarist Jesper Strömblad in 2010. While some mistake it for a love song, frontman Anders Fridén put it clearly in an interview that the song alludes to overcoming obstacles in life. He also added that “Deliver Us” communicates the need to show people you care about how privileged you are to have them around. The song was written by Björn Gelotte, who also does some guitar work in the song. Björn switched from drumming since the departure of lead guitarist Glenn Ljungström assisting the band on the lead and rhythm guitars.
#8- The Quiet Place
“The Quiet Place” establishes itself as a gem among other songs in the band’s album Soundtrack to Your Escape (2004). The song tells of a troubled soul with many bad experiences in life. This guy finds solace in someone who bolsters his confidence. Through this, the song channels the idea of breaking through times of strife and adversity as well as overpowering memories of the hard times we might meet in our life.
#7- Cloud Connected
In Flames did quite a remarkable job in helping popularize melodic death metal at the turn of the century with the album Clayman (2000). The band continued with this mission with the release of Reroute to Remain (2002). Reroute to Remain (2002) brought a heavy metal charge with songs like “Cloud Connected,” which sent the band to new levels of success in the metal scene. The song alludes to feeling great and happy, as revealed by lead vocalist Anders Fridén. Anders juxtaposes the feeling with negativity that people offer, making it clear that he will give no one space to impart negativity to his life.
#6- When The Word Explodes ft. Emilia Feldt
Number six on our top 10 In Flames songs list is the song “When The World Explodes.” The song was written by Björn Gelotte and Anders Fridén for release in the band’s album Siren Charms (2014). “When The World Explodes” features the backing vocal of Emilia Feldt, adding glamour to the haunting vocals by Anders Fridén.
#5- Where the Dead Ships Dwell
“Where the Dead Ships Dwell” is one of the most successful In Flames songs from the album Sounds of a Playground (2011). Once more, Anders Fridén teamed up with Björn in penning this heavy yet melodic ballad. The band had the song’s video directed by Patric Ullaeus, who has directed several songs for reputable bands such as At The Gates and Arch Enemy. “Where the Dead Ships Dwell” peaked at number thirty-three on the Billboard Active Rock Chart.
#4- The End
When asked about the hit “The End,” Björn Gelotte described it as one of the most straightforward songs by the band. The song was released on the band’s twelfth studio album, Battles (2016). “The End” tries to sum up all the thoughts of a person about to meet his death. In Flames’ intention was to bring its audience to the realization that there is need to appreciate every moment of your life.
#3- Stay with Me
The title of this song might have you confuse it with Sam Smith’s version, which finds him yearning for a lasting relationship after a single encounter with a lady. “Stay with Me” by In Flames served as the anthem to the band’s charity campaign in support of those who worked behind the scenes in the realm of live music during the pandemic era. The hit was featured as the closing song of the band’s most recent album, I, The Mask (2019).
#2- Come Clarity
“Come Clarity” is the album titled song of the band’s eighth studio album. The album was initially known as Crawl Through Knives after a song in the album. However, the band changed the album’s title to Come Clarity. Lead vocalist Anders revealed that the album was named after the hit “Come Clarity,” having it represent the theme of the whole album. “Come Clarity” maintains the melodic and head-banging sound felt in previous songs and albums.
#1- I Am Above
Number one on our top 10 In Flames songs list is the hit “I Am Above,” featured on the band’s most recent album I, The Mask (2019). New bassist Bryce Paul and drummer Tanner Wayne make their presence felt in this song, filling it with technical prowess that fits the band’s musical style. While some might feel the song’s video is minimalist, its uniqueness oozes from the genius visuals. These visuals are the work of iconic music video director Patric Ullaeus.
Feature Photo: Stefan Bollmann, Attribution, via Wikimedia Commons