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) — recently completed mixing its sophomore album for an early 2024 release. Asked in a new interview with Australia’s “Everblack” podcast about the musical direction of the new THE HALO EFFECT material, Peter said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “What we’ve done with this one and the last one was basically we just went into the studio with some ideas. Niclas had many, many ideas, some finished songs, and then he invited us, everybody else, in the songwriting process. So we went in without having a clear plan on how it’s gonna sound, but obviously, it’s in the fingers and it’s in Mikael‘s voice. Whatever comes out is the way that it sounds now. So the next record is — you always wanna evolve, obviously, but it’s not different; it’s definitely the same type of genre. And, like I said, we went in and we played what we felt like. And Niclas had written a bunch of songs together with Jesper, and we went in the studio on this one and just did our thing on them.”
He continued: “A lot of times some bands evolve all the time and it’s always different from record [to record]. But I think we feel more comfortable than we did before. We had no pressure by doing [the first THE HALO EFFECT album] ‘Days Of The Lost’, and we had no pressure [on the follow-up album]. But at the same time, we’ve been out playing, we’re together in an even stronger way than we were before. So, it’s definitely the same type of music. But it’s — I don’t know; it’s hard to describe.”
Earlier this month, Stanne told Finland’s Chaoszine about THE HALO EFFECT‘s upcoming LP: “It’s done, and it sounds awesome. But, yeah, we were [originally] supposed to do an EP [instead of a full-length album] — we had that kind of plan — but then we realized, ‘Ah, maybe not.’ So now we’re gonna release the album beginning of next year and starting with singles and that kind of stuff soon. So it’s really exciting, because we worked really hard just to fit into all of our schedules to make sure that the album was kind of done in time, and then we figured out like a release schedule and a release date and all that stuff. So it’s been — not stressful, but we did a lot during a short period of time, which ended up being fantastic just because it turned out a much more confident album, I think. It’s very focused and you can, you can probably tell — at least from the people that I’ve played it to — that whereas the first time was kind of, like, ‘Hey, let’s figure out what we wanna do,’ whereas this is kind of, like, ‘This is exactly what we wanna do.'”
He added: “So it’s, it’s gonna be interesting. I can’t wait to have people hear it because I’m incredibly proud of it.”
Asked if the second THE HALO EFFECT album is a “continuation” of “Days Of The Lost”, which came out last year, Stanne said: “Yeah, I think so. I think Niclas and Jesper were more confident in terms of their songwriting, where it’s, like, ‘Yeah, this is gonna work.’ And there are some cool experimentation on the album as well, but some of the songs are just like straight up, like there’s no questions. It’s just so easy and so to the point, you know. So it’s kind of fun when I get the demo version of a song, and I start thinking about lyrics and vocals, it’s, like, it just makes sense. I just know this by heart. It’s so easy. Which is — it is weird, but it’s just, like, it speaks to me in a way that where I go like, ‘Okay, I know exactly what to do and I can finish it in a matter of days.’ That’s sometimes how it feels. You just hear a song and you go, like, ‘Yep, I know this already. I know exactly what to do. And it’s gonna be great.”
THE HALO EFFECT debuted two brand new songs, “Become Surrender” and “The Defiant One”, during its February 2023 Swedish tour. Speaking to MoreCore.TV about the decision to perform new material before it is officially recorded and released, Mikael said: “We decided to [test the water a little bit], see if people are into the new stuff that we’re writing. Not that it’s super different, but still… And it’s been fun to kind of, yeah, try things out and see if people are into it. And they seem to be digging it. So we’re really excited.”
Asked what fans can expect from the second THE HALO EFFECT album, Niclas said: “I think it’s gonna be more riffage, maybe — if that’s possible.” Mikael added: “To me… We listen to it every day now in order to kind of finalize the mix. But it’s more focused, I think. For me, it feels like we are more confident in who we are, whereas the first album was kind of, like, ‘Hey, let’s figure things out, see where we can take things.’ Now it’s become focused and more final, I think, and more confident.” Niclas concurred, saying: “Especially after playing a lot of shows together, you get that chemistry going [between the bandmembers].”
In May, THE HALO EFFECT released a visualizer for the song “Path Of Fierce Resistance”. The track, which was previously released as a Japanese exclusive on “Days Of The Lost”, was finally made available in the rest of the world.
THE HALO EFFECT recently completed an eight-date North American tour leading up the band’s appearance at this year’s Milwaukee Metal Fest. Support on the trek came from UNEARTH and HIGH COMMAND.
THE HALO EFFECT will play a one-off concert in Los Angeles at the Echoplex on September 5 before performing at the ProgPower USA XXII festival in Atlanta, Georgia two days later.
“Days Of The Lost” entered the official chart in Sweden last summer at position No. 1. This was believed to be the first time a debut LP from a metal act had ever topped the chart in Sweden in its first week of release. “Days Of The Lost” also landed at No. 6 in Germany.
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.”
A founding member of IN FLAMES, Strömblad quit the band in February 2010 in order to continue receiving treatment for his alcohol addiction.
Strömblad‘s THE HALO EFFECT bandmates have been supportive in his ongoing battle with the bottle, going so far as to hire THE HAUNTED‘s Patrik Jensen to fill in for him at any gigs he is unable to play.
Engelin has been sitting out IN FLAMES‘ tour dates for the past four and a half years but has never officially confirmed his departure from the band. Engelin‘s replacement for IN FLAMES‘ live shows and in the recording studio since then has been former MEGADETH and current ACT OF DEFIANCE guitarist Chris Broderick.
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