Following the death of drummer Martin “Kiddie” Kearns, old school death metal band Bolt Thrower came to its end in 2016. A few weeks later, Frank Healy’s (Benediction) father passed away. Since then, Bolt Thrower vocalist Karl Willets and Healy have joined forces to create a new project featuring members of Benediction, Life Denied, and Bolt Thrower. Memoriam is in a similar vein to Bolt Thrower boasting their brutal death metal sound and super heavy guitar tone. Their main focuses in their songs are on themes like death, loss, and war. The UK band formed in 2016 and has since released two demos. The first full length album, ‘For the Fallen’ is set to be released via Nuclear Blast Records on March 24th. The album was recorded in about two weeks at Hellfire Studios but took four weeks to get the mix finished exactly as they wanted it done. ‘For the Fallen’ was produced by Ajeet Gill (Hellbastard, Dark Forest, Element) and artwork was created by Dan Seagrave (Benediction, Dismember, Hypocrisy, Suffocation). You can pre-order the album here.
‘For the Fallen’ storms into the room with a sinful intro with riffs heavier than uranium on “Memoriam”. Scott Fairfax delivers a forceful punch of a thick wall of sound with pinch harmonics as Willets fills the room with his fervent vocals. “War Rages On” begins commences with former Prime Minister of Britain Neville Chamberlain’s declaration of war in World War II before diving into a portal of unforgivable heaviness. The bass pounding rhythms, godly guitar breakdowns, and ultra-violent vocals strike a nerve with the old school death metal listener bringing back reminiscence of Bolt Thrower. The truly evil drum beat of “Reduced to Zero” sets a maniacal tone as Willets screams of the end of the world. “Corrupted System” has an obvious theme and contains plenty of thrash-like rhythms while also slowing back down to the wicked doom sound that the band creates so well. Even as a 6 and a half-minute long song, you will not be bored with it as the pace rapidly changes throughout the song. The production on this record has the instrumentals a little bit higher than the vocals. This works well because of how strong Willets voice already is, it is a little bit different from something like Bolt Thrower‘s ‘War Master’ where the vocals were higher up in the mix. With a thunderous explosion of a face-melting riff that would make Helen Keller headbang, “Surrounded by Death” is another thrashy song that burns through you without remorse. Whenever this song is played live, venues will be left decimated. “Resistance” was one of the songs released on ‘The Hellfire Demos’ in mid 2016. You can hear the difference between then and now on the album with how much more polished it sounds now. The guitar has a lot more bite to it while still sounding raw as ever. The record takes an epic closing with its longest song on the record clocking in at nearly nine minutes. “Last Words” also features Lynda “Tam” Simpson of Sacrilege on guest vocals. Lyrically, it is a very somber tune as Willets belts out about the loss of a loved one. You can hear the screams of men in battle as ‘For the Fallen’ begins to wrap up. Memoriam has produced a fantastic debut record that will have the attention of the underground metal community for quite some time. The legacy of Bolt Thrower will continue to live on through Memoriam. Make sure to follow the band on Facebook to stay up to date with them and check out their website here.
‘For the Fallen’ Track List
02. War Rages On
03. Reduced To Zero
04. Corrupted System
06. Surrounded (By Death)
08. Last Words
Karl Willets – Vocals (Bolt Thrower)
Frank Healy – Bass (Benediction, Sacrilege)
Scott Fairfax – Guitar (Ex Life Denied, Benediction)
Andy Whale – Drums (Ex Bolt Thrower)