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Fallen - Old Skool (Chris Collins) - Online Jul. 2005

I usually begin by asking bands to give a brief description of their style, but with FALLEN this may not be an option. In my review I noticed that you haven't really settle on one particular style so I'll begin by asking how do you view the band's progression and if you can tell at this stage what the likely outcome could be?

We have been together as a band for just over a year now and the most recent demo serves as a diary of sorts for the past 12-14 months. We more or less completed our first song before we were officially a “band” and our most recent song was finished about a week before we went into the studio. It’s true that each song is musically very different from the last and while I believe we have progressed as a band over the last year I feel that this “genre-hopping” as it has been described has more to do with experimentation than progression.

When we formed FALLEN back in April 04 it was our intention to mix the darker elements derived from Sleeve and Eddie’s taste in music with the more “old skool” tastes of Poley and myself. However as time has passed we have begun to focus on the more extreme aspects of our music and under Sleeve’s watchful eye I have found myself listening to more extreme Black and Death Metal bands that I would have previously dismissed.

As for which style we are likely to settle on? At this stage I’m not sure. I think the guitar harmonies and melodies will always be a part of our music but I also think we will continue along the path of extremity and while that will obviously isolate the more “mainstream” Metalhead so far it has enhanced our own personal enjoyment of the music which is our main concern at the moment.


In general the band and the demo seems to be very well received with even the BBC filming a couple of tracks at your support slot for SKYFORGER, which will be aired in the near future on the "Across the Line" program. How did this come about and what do you hope it will do for the band?

That was complete luck; I logged onto the Internet one day and found an invitation to visit the BBC offices in Belfast waiting in my inbox. I believe the BBC are seeking out local bands of different genres in order to make music videos for them and when it came to “Metal” our name popped up a few times. I’d like to say thanks to the people who suggested us and to the BBC themselves for providing us with this amazing opportunity. It was truly an unforgettable experience, being locked away in a dingy, dilapidated flat for a whole day is a lot more fun than you would imagine especially when you’re working with top people like Gawain, Anna and Mark.

We saw the video for the first time the other day and we are really pleased with it. The guys’ hard work and patience with us really paid off and I feel that they have given us an invaluable promotional tool which we can use to help spread our name around and send to labels, promoters etc.


Some people are remarking that the scene at home in Ireland has never been stronger. What is your opinion on the bands we have to offer both young and old? Do any in particular stand out as being worthy of more global recognition?

Admittedly I’m a relative newcomer to the local Metal scene so I can’t really comment on what it was like in the past. But if what I have seen during my time in FALLEN is anything to go by, local Metal is most definitely alive and well. The first band to ever make a big impression on me was a band called INVOLUTION. I saw them a few years ago in Newtownards and while nowadays their style wouldn’t be to my tastes I certainly attribute the fact that I’m in a band to them.

There is a wealth of talent in this country and it has been an honour to play with and support some of these bands. My own particular favourites would be DEVILMAKESTHREE, WAYLANDER, HEXXED, OLD SEASON, PUTREFY, ASYLUM (R.I.P) and DAWN. The list goes on. What I think is great about these bands is that each one of them is completely different yet each one produces and performs music at an incredibly high standard. And I hope it’s only a matter of time before bands like these start to achieve a bit more recognition because they certainly deserve it.


Everyone seems to have remarked that the main turning points for FALLEN was a certain gig in Katy Daly's and your decision to change vocalist from yourself to Sleeve. First, what do you remember about that particular gig and were you expecting that kind of reaction?

I remember that we were all very nervous. We had played a few gigs prior to that but the prospect of playing at Katy’s was very daunting for us. However with encouragement and well wishes from the guys in DM3 (who we were supporting) we got up and played and from then on I can’t remember much about the set. I do remember however that the reaction we got knocked us for six. We weren’t expecting anything like it. I think the reaction was as good as it was because people weren’t expecting much from us, as we were a bunch of unknowns on the seen. When we came offstage people congratulated us and we even received a few veiled threats of physical violence from the DM3 guys, all in jest of course lol. But when you make a band as good as DEVILMAKESTHREE sweat a little you know you’ve had a good night.


And what about your decision to change vocalist? Was it a decision made due to the criticism of the scene, or one that the band was looking towards to accommodate a developing extreme style?

It was both to be honest. We had toyed with the idea of putting Sleeve behind the mic but I think we lacked the courage to take such a drastic step. When Sleeve and I left our old band ORION to form FALLEN we just decided that I would be vocalist because it was what we were used to. The criticism we received acted like a helping hand and showed us that a change might be for the best. I think we probably would have taken a more extreme path in the long term and I believe deep down it’s what we really wanted. Unfortunately for me however I lacked the vocal power to take the band in the direction it wanted to go but looking back it’s the best decision we have ever made and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome and there is absolutely no bad feelings on the issue, in fact if anything I’m grateful to Sleeve for taking over behind the mic and lifting us up that extra peg or two.


Either way the change is certainly one for the better and it has greatly helped the impact of the band. I recall seeing you live before the change and not being overly impressed, but the first time I saw you take to the stage with Sleeve behind the mic I was greatly impressed. With the benefit of hindsight, do you think this was a necessary change and is it as yet complete?

I don’t think it was necessary for us to continue functioning as a band. I suppose we could have stayed more “mainstream” however it was a necessary change to make if we wanted to explore the more extreme elements of our music, which we did.

The change is complete in so far as Sleeve is now the permanent vocalist and I can’t see myself singing again unless it’s to do some form of backing vocals, we’ll have to see.


Speaking of seeing you live, what is with the BATHORY cover? With the exception of Sleeve the rest of you don't give me the impression of being into Black Metal at all, so why did you decide upon this particular cover?

Ah, looks can be deceiving. Eddie is also into Black Metal and as I said earlier my own appreciation of it has been growing and growing. We first played that song at the “Death by Metal” event in the Rosetta Bar on Halloween and because BATHORY and EMPEROR are two of Sleeve’s favourite bands when he asked if we could cover “A Fine Day To Die” at the Halloween gig the rest of us didn’t have a problem with it. We have only played it a couple of times since then but when we do play it we always enjoy it and it seems to go down well with the crowd.


In terms of the actual music played by FALLEN there seems to be a very definite mixture of styles, with a strong IRON MAIDEN influence in the leads and harmonies being the only universal defining feature. How important is this blended form of classic Metal to the FALLEN sound?

It’s vital. I think if you took the harmonies and leads out of our music you would be left with something very dull and boring. As I mentioned earlier I believe that twin guitar harmonies and leads will always be present in our music and it is an aspect of our band that we take great pride in. We all listen to classic Metal bands, the likes of IRON MAIDEN, early METALLICA, BLACK SABBATH, MEGADETH, TESTAMENT etc and before Sleeve immersed himself in Black Metal he was heavily into his Classic Metal so I’m not surprised that it has showed up in our music and it’s not something we intend to shy away from.


To my ears it sounds as if the differences in style are all brought to the table by the individual, members with elements of Melodic Death, Thrash, Black and Classic Metal all there to be heard. Give us a brief description of who listens to what and brings it to the FALLEN song writing camp.

Sleeve brings most of the Black Metal influence to the camp in terms of his vocal delivery and writing style. Eddie can drum to pretty much anything that’s put in front of him. He has a weird taste in music and listens to everything from Punk to Reggae But he’s obsessed with SLAYER, which comes through in his drumming much to our delight.

The “Old Skool” Classic Metal comes from us all really no one has a monopoly on that, however it is a style I like to use when writing and most of the riffs I come up with are usually quite “thrashy”. Poley listens to Classic Metal and Melodic Death Metal, he and I have quite a similar style but when it comes to his lead work I think he draws most of his influence from the guitar virtuosos of this world such as Vai, Satriani, Malmsteen etc. and he’s also a big fan of Alex Skolnick from TESTAMENT.


Towards the beginning of the interview your performance in front of BBC television cameras was discussed. When the cameras were on it was evident that the band really played for them, with extra theatrics and stage posing being evident in the classic Heavy Metal way. Do you think that your live shows would benefit from this added enthusiasm and do you plan to keep it up for future performances?

Yeah. I think it’s important to put on a good live show as well as play good music and we’ve always tried to do just that. I don’t like going to a gig where the performers just stand rooted to the spot and occasionally bob their heads. Live gigs to me are all about entertainment and I think a confident stage presence adds to the quality and entertainment value of a band.

The presence of the TV crew at our last Belfast gig gave us an extra little kick and boosted our energy levels we want to have the best stage presence possible and we hope to keep it up.


With a demo to promote, a sound to establish and a healthy gigging profile, what does the future hold in store for FALLEN? Are there any significant touring plans in the near future?

There are a few things in the pipeline, which we are very excited about, but as things are at the moment we can’t really go into much detail. All I can say is we plan to hit the road very soon!


I think I'll end here and thank you for your time. I'll let you use this space in any way you deem fit to plug and promote the band any way you choose!

Thanks very much for the review and the interview your time spent on us is greatly appreciated.

There’s quite a lot going on in FALLEN at the moment but unfortunately I’ve been asked to remain tight lipped as to what exactly but if you’re interested in checking us out visit our latest demo “Insanity’s Memoirs” is available now! 


2005: Insanity’s Memoirs (Demo)

Niall Kennedy

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