Some say that out of the ashes of the fallen will rise greatness.
The unfortunate death of drummer Martin “Kiddie” Kearns of the legendary Bolt Thrower led the band to shut down their war metal machine forever. But vocalist Karl Willets joined forces with Andrew Whale and Benediction’s Scott Fairfax and Frank Healy to form Memoriam in Kearns’ honor. And they do the drum legend proud on For the Fallen. This isn’t modern tech-death, this is old school; slower, crunchier and not overproduced death metal. This is what the purists call “true death metal.”
The title track opens the album in a simple, overtly heavy manner. The riffs are crunchy and the overtones are haunting. “War Rages On” picks up the pace, and the war metal begins! Willets’ bludgeoning vocals shine on the song as he growls the title. “Reduced to Zero” begins with an ominous tone, then turns into a chugging freight train. As Willets proclaims,”The prophecy foretold the end is near,” the guitar riffs surround you in a cyclone. This is the epitome of heavy. “Corrupted System” picks up the pace and never relinquishes a firm choke hold on you. “Flatline” brings the guitar a little more front and center, and the maelstrom of notes is absolutely brutal. I love the way the vocals are menacing and blend perfectly with the guitars. “Surrounded by Death” continues the breakneck pace and picks things up even more mid-song with a thrashy feel. “Resistance” recalls old school Bolt Thrower, and the guitar solo sounds like epic Kerry King. “Last Words” takes you out of the album with an epic aura.
Memoriam have done Kearns and the metal world proud with For The Fallen. It surpassed my expectations and will go down as one of the best releases of 2017.
For The Fallen is out March 24 on Nuclear Blast Records. Pre-order it here!