Ex-IN FLAMES guitarist Jesper Strömblad says that he and his former bandmates were “going in two completely different directions” prior to his exit from the group more than a decade ago.
Strömblad, who quit IN FLAMES in February 2010 in order to continue receiving treatment for his alcohol addiction, made his latest comments while speaking to the “Scars And Guitars” podcast about the upcoming third album from his CYHRA project, “The Vertigo Trigger”.
Reflecting on the final album he made with IN FLAMES, 2008’s “A Sense Of Purpose”, Jesper said: “[That] one was too much hassle… Not ‘hassle’, but we were going in two completely different directions. I wanted to stay death metal-ish and certain individuals wanted to go more radio friendly. And it was not a good time in the band, so I decided to leave, actually. Because I felt when I was on tour… I remember one of the last shows I did, I was watching the audience and I wished I was one of the guys in the audience. ‘I don’t wanna stand up here.’ And I didn’t feel that it was fair to the people who come to see the band. And it was not fair to me or the other members. That’s when I decided to leave.”
Regarding IN FLAMES’ musical evolution after his departure from the band, Jesper said: “They drastically changed. Maybe not the album after, but the later ones that came out. But they still have Björn [Gelotte, IN FLAMES guitarist writing the songs]… Something got lost, of course — something got lost. When I left, Björn was without his [songwriting partner]. He did everything himself, and they did a great job, I think. But for me, a little bit the soul disappeared, and it doesn’t have to do with me, but it has to do with [the fact that] the last original member left the band, I think a little bit. But they’re still doing great. They’re an institution. They still play to huge crowds at festivals and are doing a good job and have great musicians with them.”
Back in 2017, Jesper told Metal Wani about IN FLAMES’ then-latest album, 2016’s “Battles”: “To be honest, I think they should actually change the name, because it’s such a huge, huge difference from the beginning. But if that’s the way they wanna do it, fine. And they’re happy with the new members, so good luck to them. Everyone is in the right place.”
Strömblad went on to clarify: “I didn’t say that ‘Battles’ sucks ass — that’s not what I said. It’s just it’s very… They have developed so much in a [different] direction.”
Last August, Strömblad, who has been sitting out CYHRA’s live shows, as well as those from his other band THE HALO EFFECT, in order to deal with his addiction and other demons, opened up about his ordeal in an interview with A&P Reacts. At the time, he said: “The addiction, it led me to the depression, and that’s a disease. And that’s nothing to be ashamed of. That can happen to anyone at any point. And if I tell my story and I’m just honest with it, maybe it can inspire one guy to take that step and say that, ‘Well, maybe I get the insight that I have a problem with alcohol’ or ‘I have a problem with drugs.’ Because being a drunk in denial, that’s like a full-time job, I tell you that… And I’m so tired of it.”