“Groovy, majestic, crushing and epic. Old school death metal with a fresh touch by the legends of the scene.”
INFERNO (FIN), Tami Hintikka
“This is a real bomb of an album. It really kicks ass. Old school death metal doesn’t get better than this.”
SCREAM (N), Stig Odegaard
Surrounded by death…
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.
“We needed to move on,” Healy reflects. “To find closure and peace of mind. To express the sadness and get it out in the open. The formation of MEMORIAM and the music we created was the vehicle for me. To get all that emotion laid down is the perfect way to make a permanent tribute to those we loved and lost. It is a happy ending for me as MEMORIAM gave me the outlet to grieve. [To] make something positive from all the sadness.”
“MEMORIAM was born from darkness,” continues Willetts. “For me, it was a choice of sinking deep into a pit of misery and despair, waiting for something to happen. [I had that choice] or to get on with life and try and create something positive from the experience. From the darkness comes light, from the sadness comes joy, from the despair comes hope. This is MEMORIAM.”
War rages on…
From the moment MEMORIAM became a reality - the official announcement was in March 2016 - the newly formed quartet were ready for action. 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.
With »The Hellfire Demos« 7” garnering rave reviews among fans and critics alike, it wasn’t long before MEMORIAM had inked an exclusive deal with German metal giant Nuclear Blast. The label was quick to welcome MEMORIAM to the fold, with CEO Markus Staiger offering the Brits a deal after digging the pedigree of the band and their music, specifically 'War Rages On' and 'Resistance'. Opposite of the label, the group were also keen on Nuclear Blast based on reputation and roster alone. Healy had spent his entire career with BENEDICTION on the label, so if any label had the renown to secure the signatures of English death metal royalty, it was Nuclear Blast. So, when representatives reached out, the members of MEMORIAM were eager to sign on the dotted line.
Reduced to zero…
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 [www.memoriam.uk.com], 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. While fans and critics can appreciate the end results, getting it right took four weeks of mixing and re-mixing.
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.
With »For The Fallen« scheduled for a March release through Nuclear Blast, it’s evident MEMORIAM will be kitting up for on-stage assaults in support of the full-length. The Brits have already been confirmed for Blastfest, Dark Easter Metal Meeting, Roadburn, Graspop, and the grand-daddy of all European festivals Wacken. As for what follows, the members of MEMORIAM are taking it day by day. If anything while massive world tours won’t be in the cards, the follow-up full-length to »For The Fallen« is.
02. War Rages On
03. Reduced To Zero
04. Corrupted System
06. Surrounded (By Death)
08. Last Words
Karl Willets | vocals
Frank Healy | bass
Scott Fairfax | guitars
Andy Whale | drums