After leaving Ceremonial Oath to form In Flames, founding member and guitarist Jesper Strömblad saw this project as a way of expressing his songwriting creativity rather than being stuck in the background. With the added influences of Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath, along with his own touch of aggressive metal that overwhelmed his home country of Sweden, Wrong Again Records took notice and released In Flames' 1993 debut, Lunar Strain. In the tradition of many other Swedish metal acts, In Flames also had a revolving lineup that changed year after year -- not that this was going to stop them from releasing their next album, Subterranean (1994), before signing to Nuclear Blast Records in 1996.
After putting out The Jester Race album later that year, followed by 1997's Whoracle, In Flames' lineup was finally settled with Björn Gelotte (drums), Anders Fridén (vocals), Peter Iwers (bass), and Daniel Svensson (drums) in addition to Strömblad. To celebrate, the band released its sixth album, Colony, in 1999. Clayman followed in the same vein the next year, and the band even managed to keep the same lineup for this release. The live Tokyo Showdown was released to promote their tour in 2001. Reroute to Remain arrived in 2002, followed by Soundtrack to Your Escape in 2004 and Come Clarity in 2006. In 2008 the band released its ninth studio album, A Sense of Purpose, which featured the single "Mirror's Truth," followed in 2011 by Sounds of a Playground Fading, which was the first release not to include founding guitarist Strömblad, who left the band the previous year. Exploring a more progressive sound, the band returned with their eleventh album, Siren Charms, in 2014.
The band's twelfth full-length, Battles (2016), sees In Flames eschewing proven formulas in favor of trying new things, most notably finding a new collaborator in Grammy-nominated producer Howard Benson (My Chemical Romance, The Used), who was brought into the band's coveted inner circle in order make Battles an album that will appeal to every type of In Flames fan.
I, the Mask (2019) doesn’t shake things up very much or restore In Flames to their “glory days,” but it certainly sees them perfecting their modern style on every selection. Despite being scaled down in scope and skill to some extent compared to their career highlights, there’s still myriad moments of nourishing wrath, delicate asides, and catchy choruses in-between. As such, I, the Mask should appeal to all lovers of the genre to some extent, and frankly, the band deserves some accolades just for producing something so appealing after racing by for so long.