Although lockdown was undeniably a desperate time for the entertainment business, for some, the time spent in isolation actually created opportunities. With schedules and timetables suddenly emptied, many long-standing ideas and projects, that for whatever reason, looked set to never get off the ground, were finally able to grow and develop into something more than a mere hopeful nucleus of an idea
One such project is The Halo Effect, a collaboration between four former members of Gothenburg melodeath legends In Flames, and Mikael Stanne, vocalist for fellow Gothenburgians Dark Tranquillity and vocalist on IF’s 1993 demo and 1994’s full length debut, Lunar Strain. With In Flames and Hammerfall founder Jesper Strömblad and two-time ‘Flames six-stringer Niclas Engelin sharing guitar duties; the two band supergroup rounded out by bassist Peter Iwers and drummer Daniel Svensson, the fearsome rhythm section in place during In Flames’ most successful period.
One of the largest movements in European metal during the nineties and early ’00s, the so-called Gothenburg Sound may have only begun life as death metal with Iron Maiden style melodies but soon went on to influence a countless number of bands. Essentially Dark Flames or, if you prefer, In Tranquillity, Days Of The Lost (Nuclear Blast) effortlessly merges classic metal with European death metal, a uniquely distinctive sound of which these five exponents of the art are so adept.
After the impressive opening salvo of ‘Shadowminds’, ‘Days of the Lost’, ‘The Needless End’ and the heads down neck-fuckery of ‘Conditional’ kick things off, the mighty ‘In Broken Trust’ allows frontman Stanne the time and space to incorporate his trademark melancholic clean tones. The sinister ‘Gateways’ uncoils and strikes with even more memorable guitar melodies, and ‘A Truth Worth Lying For’ sees Stanne delivering another classically downbeat chorus before the uplifting riffs and aggressive, staccato blast of ‘Feel What I Believe’.
Swelling orchestral strings are quickly left in the rear view mirror on the fast-paced and abrasive ‘Last of Our Kind’, a tremendous cut blessed with a powerful climax and one of the finest riffs on the record. Closing out the album is ‘The Most Alone’, another reliably solid cut with a sorrowful chorus and even more nimble-fingered fretwork. The perfect way to bring the curtain down on such a striking debut.
Boasting a production that packs a punch while seamlessly combining the raw energy of the early Gothenburg sound with a tempered and more cultured approach, Days Of The Lost is modern melodeath with a nineties heart.
8 / 10