Death metal supergroup Memoriam is made up of Frank Healy (ex-Napalm Death), Andrew Whale (ex-Bolt Thrower), Scott Fairfax (ex-Benediction), and Karl Willetts (ex-Bolt Thrower). I know, quite a start. They’ve put out a few demos and are now releasing their first full-length March 24th via Nuclear Bast.
I’ll start off by saying I’ve really been looking forward to this. I’m a huge Bolt Thrower fan and I’ve been pretty eager to hear what’s done with this Memoriam record. I’ve heard the demos and that only got me even more excited for them to put out their first album as a band. Given the obvious hype and eagerness, I had expectations for this album and I’m happy to say For The Fallen met and exceeded all of them.
“Memoriam” is the opening track and definitely one of my favorites for the way it builds up effortlessly. The guitars basically enunciate the word “Memoriam” over and over which is also the chorus. You’d think that would get old, but no. It doesn’t. Not this time. Willetts has a voice that can be described as almost a deep, raspy yell and it’s great. It paints the perfect picture over the dreary yet heavy instrumentals of a sepia-toned battleground ridden with bodies and littered with rifle shell casings. I just described the album cover almost exactly and I didn’t mean to do that. Anyways, just goes to shows how well they captured the intended atmosphere with their music.
In “Last Words” you can hear gunfire and people uttering their last words to each other. Memoriam just isn’t letting up on the brutality factor. The addition of that with the crushing heaviness of their flavor of death metal makes this track devastating, but then again so is the whole album. A band like Memoriam is a great example of how for things to be brutal they don’t necessarily need to be inhumanly fast. Or so technical you have to have a degree in some sort of math major to figure it out. Those things are impressive but there’s nothing better than a fat old riff that throws you around and then brings you back home to an even better place than where you left. The music can carry you, and that’s how I feel listening to this album.
Last year Willetts said that Memoriam was formed as a tribute to Martin Kearns, late Bolt Thrower drummer who died peacefully in his sleep at age 38. A quote on their website that reads “A true celebration of life through Death Metal” solidifies this statement even more, and I think Kearns would be happy that such powerful music is inspired by him.
I’ll try not to overdo the whole “If you like Bolt Thrower you’ll like Memoriam” thing because while there are a lot of similarities musically (which isn’t at all a bad thing), it’s not exactly the same. But with that being said here’s my one. If you like Bolt Thrower, you’ll like this album. Kinda like if you wanted to hear more Bolt Thrower but with a different take on it, I’d recommend this. Most of the riffs and songwriting in general throughout the album are somewhat simple, but it’s so well orchestrated that each riff and word hold so much potency and power. You need to hear it.
- War Rages On
- Reduced To Zero
- Corrupted System
- Surrounded (By Death)
- Last Words
Record label: Nuclear Blast
Genre: Death Metal
Playing Time : 43:36
Frank Healy- Bass
Andrew Whale- Drums
Scott Fairfax- Guitars
Karl Willetts- Vocals