For The Fallen: Vinyl LP


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When Bolt Thrower drummer Martin “Kiddie” Kearns passed in his sleep on September 14th, 2015, the members of Britain’s longest standing death metal band were absolutely bereft. Three weeks after, bassist Frank Healy, of UK death metal legends Benediction, lost his father. All that sorrow left a massive hole in the hearts and minds of the Midlanders. The untimely demise of Kearns forced Bolt Thrower to go on an indefinite hiatus, while Healy was seven years removed from Benediction’s last full-length, Killing Music. Key members of both bands needed an out. A way to cope with the emotional hardship. So, vocalist Karl Willetts and Healy teamed up with ex-Bolt Thrower drummer Andy Whale and riff-master Scott Fairfax to form Memoriam.

While the unwelcome silencing of guns long firing ultimately led to the formation of Memoriam, the origin story also has a more prosaic side. For a good 20 years, Healy and Willetts had always dreamed of having a band together. A band that was neither Benediction nor Bolt Thrower, but one that was predicated on the same old-school ideals the two musicians shared.“I think the main thing that separates us [from Benediction and Bolt Thrower] is the guitar style and sound,” Healy says. “And the actual song structures. The three of us go back to the early days of the [death metal] genre, but Scott is from the later part of the death metal scene, and his playing is a bit more technical.”

It only took six months for the two-song The Hellfire Demos to hit wax. Replete with a Paul McHale (of In Battle There is no Law fame) cover and a raging Hellfire Studios production, Memoriam’s introduction to the world—in the form of “War Rages On” and “Resistance”—was remarkably powerful and willfully savage. The songs, even after a few months of jamming, came hard and fast.Once signed to Nuclear Blast, it was time to follow-up The Hellfire Demos with a proper full-length.Fairfax’s bottomless well of riffs proved to be a good starting point. “We tend not to dwell on a song for too long,” reveals Healy. “We like the immediacy of an idea. Sometimes, when you mess with a song for too long you can dilute it and it loses its power and feel.”

The breathless pace at which Memoriam moved shocked not only fans and the press, but also the band. In the time it takes Lars Ulrich to tune his snare drum, Memoriam had written and released The Hellfire Demos 7”, set up the group’s webpage [], started their merchandise company, played four big-league European festivals, signed a deal, and recorded the For the Fallen full-length. Few bands in memory have started with less and achieved more than Memoriam in the abbreviated time they’ve been at it.

The crown jewel of Memoriam’s achievement is, of course, debut album, For the Fallen. Recorded over two weeks at Hellfire Studios with producer Ajeet Gill, For the Fallen has a massive yet underground sound—somewhere between yet beyond Transcend the Rubicon and The IVth Crusade. It’s the kind of full-length that’s a rarity today. From ripping opener in ‘War Rages On’ to midway killer ‘Flatline’ to the epic closer ‘Last Words’, For the Fallen has a classic yet contemporary sound. If Memoriam’s first mostly pivots to attack mode, then conceptually and lyrically it centers on the unfortunate effects of what happens after, whether it’s the pain and sorrow of losing close friends and family or touching upon war and how it has and will continue to shape humanity. The title For the Fallen, for example, is a tribute to the lost. The song ‘Reduced to Zero’ is an observation on the sad state of our world today. ‘Last Words’, featuring Lynda ‘Tam’ Simpson (Sacrilege), is written from the perspective of a soldier in the trenches during WWI just before the call for battle. And ‘Surrounded by Death’ is, more or less, self-explanatory. Clearly, inspiration wasn’t lost on Willetts during For the Fallen’s writing sessions. “We have all been around for a long time!” reminds Willetts. “I think with Memoriam we are taking it as it comes and not planning too far into the future—we are enjoying it for what it is. A true celebration of life through death metal!”

1. Memoriam
2. War Rages On
3. Reduced To Zero
4. Corrupted System
5. Flatline
6. Surrounded By Death
7. Resistance
8. Last Words

Vinyl LP
Nuclear Blast