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Horrified

Sommige albums grijpen je bij je strot en laten niet meer los. Natuurlijk, dat is naast de kwaliteit van een album altijd afhankelijk van je muzikale voorkeuren, je stemming tijdens de eerste keer dat je een plaat hoort, misschien zelfs van wat je er vóór of na hebt geluisterd. Hoe het ook zij, ’Allure Of the Fallen’, de derde plaat van het Engelse Horrified was voor mij zo’n kneiter van een plaat, een absolute topper in de hedendaagse death/black (en doom). Hoogste tijd dus om eens met zanger, gitarist en songwriter Dan (Alderson) contact op te nemen. Een gesprek over muziek en muzikale en literaire invloeden.

Door: Sicktus | Archiveer onder death metal / grindcore

Hi there! Before we start, how is Mike doing after the cowardly robbery he suffered last week?
Hey man, thanks for your concern. It wasn’t a robbery, just a random act of violence. Mike is surprisingly okay. No damage to his face or any mental baggage hanging from it, it was just the fact his hand was broken and was forced in a cast for 3-6 weeks. This forced us to cancel a show we had planned which would have been his debut.

Alright, hope he gets back on track soon and those thugs get their comeuppance... Okay... On to the regular bit of the interview: could you please introduce yourself/yourselves to our readers?
Well I’m Dan Alderson - I play guitar and do vocals for the band and I am also the main songwriter. Secondly we have Dan Jordan on second guitars, who we recruited around February / March this year. I knew Dan from the small but enthusiastic scene in our tiny home town when we were teenagers. Dan is proving to become a vital part of the band and his chops are very impressive, his musicality and skill has certainly become a welcome element to the band and his ideas have influenced the direction taken for the next album. On bass we have Lee Anderson, a scene vet who plays in several bands in the Newcastle scene and has also done extensive gig promotion under a moniker of “Disgrace To The Scene”. Lee is an old and close friend of mine from way back in the day, who’s bass chops never fail to impress an audience or the listener on record. Finally, we have Michael Jordan playing drums for us now. Mike is Dan’s brother and they both played in a thrash band called Vortex. Mike was highly respected for having great chops and energy live behind the drum kit at such a young age. I do believe he couldn’t even go to the bar to buy himself a beer at many of the venues they played back in the day, haha.

Alright, thanks. Onto the new album, ‘Allure Of the Fallen’... Wow. That is one fine album, gentlemen! The reactions online and in reviews have been pretty raving, it seems. Do you recall a moment in time, in the studio or post production or whenever, where you yourself realised “Damn. This album we’ve done (or are doing)... Is pretty decent. I’m pretty content with this!”? Or was there no such moment? Did you maybe even doubt it was good enough? No worries, just trying to pick your brain a bit here...
Thank you so much for your continued praise. Making the album was certainly a massive journey and a huge undertaking. I think there were moments during the recording process where the people present really did sit back and think “Shit, this is coming together.” However, the one moment for me really did have to be having some private listening sessions of the finished record with close friends. Their reactions and hearing it from start to finish with them really did provide a solid reassurance that the album was worthy.

Besides the moment of realisation – if there was any – that ‘Allure Of The Fallen’ is an album to be damn proud of, with this being your third full-length, what expectations or goals did you have of the album beforehand? What targets did you give yourselves, or what targets / goals do you still hope the album will achieve?
Well, our previous two releases were all done under smaller underground labels under a licensing deal so to speak. I believed the time had come for the band to take that next step up and find a home with a bigger label. This was achieved with signing to Shadow Kingdom (which I couldn’t think of a better experience to work with). Our other aim with the album is to reach out to more fans, which I believe is also happening. Lastly, we are hoping the album will provide us with some more live bookings. We strive to make an impression and recognition, were all very dedicated and passionate about this.

I absolutely love the album cover. I didn’t get a lot of information along with the promo, so let’s start with the obvious: who painted it? And did you guys give some directions on the atmosphere, the topic/scene/imagery? What does it represent? Well, besides an awesome piece of art that grabs your eye and has tons of room for the imagination...
Really? That’s a shame… However, the credit is easily found online or on the inlay. (Nowadays most promo’s are digital, not hardcopy, so no inlay neither – Sicktus) I simply contacted Adam Burke with a link to the album and its lyrical theme etc. I expressed that the music and lyrics were meant to give a vast ‘overarching’ sense of scale. So I asked for an epic landscape piece in a classical style of John Martin, I believe Adam nailed this… which is no small feat!

Can you explain the title / lyrical theme to the album a bit?
The title is a direct reference to Steven Erikson’s epic/dark/genre defying fantasy masterpiece “Malazan Book of The Fallen” and the lyrics describe the overarching world, lore, mytho’s and such of this series. I was inspired by Caladan Brood to follow suite in how they dealt with covering the series on their epic ‘Echoes Of Battle’ album. Taking a more subtle approach and using the overarching world, I believe this is more effective and artful way to base the lyrical themes on literature. Rather than just dumb, obvious references to certain events, characters, battles etc...

I hear some hints of Dissection in your music, Edge Of Sanity as well. But I love how you take that, run with it and make it your own, make it Horrified. What would you say are your musical influences, both as an individual musician and as a band?
Couldn't ask have asked for a better sum of our influences than that! The actual Malazan series provided just as much, if not more influence for songwriting though. As a group we all love metal (and music as a whole) that is well done, tasteful and/or intense.

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Your music – and the production – gives a lot of room to the guitars to make their mark. Which guitarists would you say influenced your play and moreover, your compositions / song writing?
Guitar playing wise I would say we are more influenced by Trad/Classic/80’s style shred than the lead playing in Death Metal. Although lead work in later Death is a huge inspiration for me and Dan. Leads such as the guest solo on ‘December Flower’ by In Flames, shreddy but expressive - if that makes sense, are also “Our Thing”. The solo work on ‘Return To Heaven Denied’ (Labyrinth) and ‘Flame To The Ground Beneath’ are also huge for me. I think we have covered songwriting influences in previous questions, not trying to skip out, I just hate repeating myself and wasting a reader's time haha!

Do you have a favourite song on the album? Mine is probably ‘Light’s Dissolution’ – or, well, at the moment it is anyway – because it just keeps changing, because of the pacing, the balance between emphasizing melody and the more rough, gritty, dark side and with that the feel and atmosphere, almost the genre at times, while still being a stand out song... Or maybe ‘Unanswered’, which has that lead/melody bit at the 2:50 mark which reminds me of a sixties song on speed – although I can’t for the life of me put my finger on what song it is that it reminds me of... Or... Eehm... Well, eerrr, I lost my train of thought here... Anyway... Let’s see if I can turn this gibberish into an actual question... How about: which song do you look forward the most to play live, of the new album?
We just played our first show in fifteen months, an album release show playing the new record in full from start to finish. The gig was packed, the set went well and it was overall an amazing night. For me I do prefer playing the more intense, up tempo melodic black metal sections. ‘Light’s Dissolution’ is extremely fun in that regard and when it gets to the mid section break, where the song descends into that chordal - triplet section. Well, it's a hell of a riff to really lock in together and get some headbanging and/or hip swinging on the go haha. But seriously all the songs from the album are great to play for their own reasons and flowing through the dynamics from start to finish live in front of a large and enthusiastic audience was an amazing experience, hopefully we’ll get to do that again!

Would you prefer to play a doom metal only festival, or a death metal only festival, if you were “forced” to choose? Because I could absolutely see you guys kill it at a doom metal festival...
I agree with you on this, as I just said, we would love to take our “full album” set and play it at some festivals as part of the bill. I went to Roadburn this year and it was fucking awesome, great mix of doom and black metal with an amazing crowd and location. I actually think we would be a pretty good fit there, I would love to return as part of the line up one day… but I wouldn’t say no to a death metal festival either. We are looking to play live as much as possible.

When I look at the line-up, there seems to be a strong link with Plague Rider in your past and present. Can you elaborate on that link? What kind of band is And maybe give a brief background on the origins of Horrified while you’re at it?
I was a founding member of Horrified, along with Lee. This was my first ever band and those early years were a lot of fun and taught all of us a lot of different things… I started Horrified when I first started university as a studio project, to get out some ideas that were to “OSDM” sounding than the progressive/tech death style that we were playing with Plague Rider at the time.

What does the future hold for Horrified? Or, as we can’t predict the future, what plans are you working on, recordings, touring, any side projects our readers should check out perhaps? Any shows near The Netherlands coming up?
We hope to play live a lot, and we are currently writing a new album - with 35 minutes worth of material wrote already. We’re working on a short string of UK dates for January, to start the year off with revisiting some cities we have played in the past. Other than that there isn’t much in the calendar. The Netherlands is an amazing country, one we have played before and I have been there three times personally. I’d love to play a few dates there. As part of a tour or even just as an isolated short tour… who knows maybe it will happen! I have a side project called Enshroudment, playing funeral death/doom with lots of melody. Lee’s other two big projects I can think of are the aforementioned Plague Rider and Live Burial. So keep an eye out on Enshroudment for a future EP and check out Lee’s bands if you don’t already know them.

Alright, that wraps it up. Any last words?
Many thanks for your continued support on this site and to everyone else out there who has supported us in any way… cheers!

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