Review: Memoriam – For the Fallen
Written by Matt Drummond
Memoriam is a band loaded with talent and heavily weighted with members who have been inebriating listeners with old school death metal for over three decades. Although the formation of Memoriam was a result of tragedy, they look to convey a positive message through death.
Calling Birmingham, United Kingdom home, Memoriam formed in January 2016 following the death of friend, and former bandmate, Martin “Kiddie” Kearns. The death of Kearns marked the permanent ending for British powerhouse, Bolt Thrower, and the dawning of Memoriam. Focusing on themes of death, war and loss, Memoriam is quoted as saying that Memoriam is “a celebration of life through death metal.”
The lineup consists of Karl Willets (vocals) and Andy Whale (drums), both formerly of Bolt Thrower, Frank Healy (Bass), previously a member of Benediction and Cerebral Fix, and Scott Fairfax (guitar) coming from way of Cerebral Fix. When you consider bands like Bolt Thrower, and Benediction, formed in the ‘80’s heyday of metal, the experience level for this band is mind boggling and it shines brightly throughout the album.
With the release of ‘The Hellfire Demos’ in 2016, metal fans began to understand just what caliber of band Memoriam would be. On March 24, 2017, those expectations were annihilated, when Memoriam uncorked a beast. For the Fallen, which is officially the band’s first full length album, hits like a rusty crowbar to the face.
For the Fallen kicks off with ‘Memoriam,’ a slow, chugging track. Peppering in squealing guitars, ‘Memoriam’ lays the groundwork for an absolutely crushing record.
On track two, ‘War Rages On,’ Memoriam picks up the pace, and brutality. It showcases masterful guitar work by Fairfax, and relentless drumming by Whale.
Although I am definitely a fan of this entire album, track 5, ‘Flatline,’ is hands down my favorite. ‘Flatline’ is a seven and a half minute metal symphony, which shows all ranges of pure, old school death metal. Going from an almost thrashy sound to slow, gut wrenching madness; ‘Flatline’ has it all. Sometimes it’s tough to keep me interested when songs are so long. Sometimes long songs sound forced, and repetitive, but that is certainly not the case here. The transitions are smooth and the song is a behemoth.
It’s unfortunate that Memoriam had to form with a shadow of tragedy and the ending to legendary band like Bolt Thrower, but their commitment to carry on a classic sound has definitely been met. ‘For the Fallen’ is precisely what metal fans want, it literally has everything. The only thing anyone could say it’s missing is ten more songs. This album sets an extremely high bar for their sophomore album, but with talent like this, I don’t think we need to fear. 9/10