Always Fallen is a young thrash metal band from Belgium which caught my interest and who have a very convincing demo MCD called See My Blood. A good reason to find out a bit more about these guys!
Please tell us about how you started! And why do you choose the name Always Fallen? What does it mean to you?
Our band name was actually chosen by our former singer who is no longer part of the band. It doesn't really have meaning, it even sounds kind of Emo, if you ask me, haha! I guess you could say our band name symbolizes the problems you face in every day life and the fact that everybody. We just needed a band name that was short and easy to remember.
Musically you seem to be influenced partly by the 'old' thrash bands... What are your musical and lyrical influences?
We have extremely diverse influences, everyone in the band listens to all different kinds of metal from Slayer, Metallica, Artillery, Municipal Waste to Heaven Shall Burn, Killswitch Engage, In Flames, Trivium, Lost Prophets... We just like good music. I think our influences are reflected in each one of our songs, which makes Always Fallen not a pure thrash metal band. The die-hard old school thrash metal lovers won't like hearing this, but it's just the way it is.
How do you write songs? As a band? Or does someone come up with a finished song?
In the beginning our lead guitar player, Jens, would write a whole song including some drum parts at home, which we learned to play at rehearsals. Our singer would put vocals on it, when it was finished. But now, since about a year we started jamming more and the songs are created during rehearsals while the drummer and the guitarist are playing. The other band members help out with the structure or give suggestions in which direction the song should evolve, so it's a real group process, everybody has input in our songs.
You use different vocal styles like grunts, screams and clean vocals. How come?
One of the most important aspects of the band is diversity; we like to combine different music styles so the music doesn't get boring, this is best reflected in the vocals. Hearing someone singing clean for a record long can get kind of annoying, as can screaming and grunting. We take a mix of these three elements and make the songs interesting to hear.
Please tell us a bit about the songs at See My Blood! And what song on your demo See My Blood presents Always Fallen best at the moment?
I think the title song See My Blood reflects our sound the best. It has some straight forward thrash parts in it and some solos but it also has some modern elements, like a breakdown in the middle of the song. Also the vocals go from really raw and intense to melodic; this is what Always Fallen stands for.
The cover... For me it looks more like something of a band like Within Temptation or After Forever... So it would have mislead me, but really like it! Who had the idea for the artwork?
That's true, it doesn't really look very 'thrash metal'. We chose the artwork because it symbolized the title of the MCD. Our rhythm guitarist Mike put it together, he has done most of our designs, like our shirts, website, our first demo.... He really good at that kind of stuff.
I think you already saw some critics of See My Blood, how did the reviews turn out?
The reviews have been overwhelmingly positive! We got 90/100 from Holland's leading metal magazine Aardschok, we also received praise from the Belgian magazine Mindview, which wrote that they are really looking forward to hearing our debut full cd. You can check out all the reviews on the blog of our MySpace: www.myspace.com/alwaysfallenmetal some of the reviews are written in English.
Have you started shopping for a deal? Have you got any reactions so far?
We have sent out a number of promos to record labels in Belgium, Germany and Holland, but so far we haven't gotten a positive response yet. There aren't a lot of labels in Belgium and it's getting harder and harder for news bands to get signed. These days labels prefer to invest in bands who have already made a name for themselves.
Have you already started writing new songs for an album?
Yes, we have actually, we are planning to record a full CD in may 2009 at Studio Jonathas with Xavier Carion (Channel Zero). The CD is going to feature 10 songs, 5 old ones and 5 new ones. So far we have 2 new songs and we are currently working on the 3rd.
If you won't get a good offer from a label, have you thought about doing another self-produced CD?
If we don't get a good deal with a label then we will self release the full CD, because we are convinced that we have a good product and that people will definitely buy the album. It would be a shame not the record the new songs.
What about playing live? Can you do a lot of shows?
Every year we play about 25-30 shows. We try to reach as many people as possible, so we are on the road almost every weekend. We have a couple of cool gigs in the near future, like Frostrock, where we will hit the stage with bands like Ensiferum (Fin), Axxis (Ger), Stormlord (Ita) So we are looking forward to that one. After the full CD is released we hope to tour in Europe for 7-10 days.
You twice took part at Wacken Metal Battle Belgium. Tell us about that experience!
The first time we were in the finals, it really sucked, only about 40 people showed up for the show and we finished last. At the time we weren't that experienced yet and we were already happy to be selected for the finals. The next year was much better, we won the semi-finals in Ostend and in the final there were about 150 people that showed up, the crowd responded very well to our set and we finished in second place with only 3 points less then the winner. That was really disappointing for us. But is was one our best gigs yet.
Beside Graspop Metal Meeting we don't hear that much from Belgium, beside the bands who stop there for a show. Is there a real metal scene? And if so, what is it like?
In the city we live, Blankenberge, there are very few metal heads. But overall Belgium has a pretty good metal scene. With talented bands like Aborted, Spoil Engine, Crimson Falls, After All, The Dying, Rafflesia... Every week there are some cool gigs going on.
But I think Belgium is more known for its hardcore scene and bands, the H8000 scene is still very much alive, and bands like Congress (RIP), Liar, Rise&Fall... are still very popular.
And what do you think is the reason why there are just a few bands from Belgium internationally known?
I think there are some great bands in Belgium, but some bands just lack the time & motivation to make it internationally. Also I think there is a much bigger scene in Germany, Holland, France... but it's really hard for a band from such a small country to penetrate in those scenes and get respect. Belgium hasn't got like a major metal label to promote artists in other European countries.
What's on your schedule for the first half of 2009?
Mainly writing new songs, rehearsing our asses, playing a couple of shows to try out our new songs and recording our debut album!
Thanks a lot for answering my questions and enlighten me a bit. I hope to hear and see more from the Belgiums in 2009!