Death Metal? Thrash? Power metal? Prog? Critics and listeners alike are not quite sure how to classify Ohio-based metalers Fade To Oblivion. Then again, having a wide array of influences and a diverse song catalog isn’t the only thing different about the band. Guitarist Alex Furst explains:
“It’s been a different album cycle for us compared to a lot of other bands. Our demo songs and the first song we wrote for the record were the result of extensive feedback from our fans and the community. It was a trial and error about what people like, what sounds good to us, and who we are as a group. After that we identified common factors and filled out the record based upon that information.”
This sort of data-driven approach seems more at home in a research lab than a typical band’s jam room, but when you consider the fact that two of the band members have science degrees, things start to make a little more sense. “What we didn’t want was an album where you get lost in the middle because all the songs start to blend together,” says vocalist and bass-player David Merriman. So the band worked up an outline based upon the central story of the album and jumped in the trenches.
‘Of Death and Vengeance’ is not just the result of years of trial and error, a painstaking writing process, and literal blood, sweat, and tears, it’s also a concept album straight out of a High Fantasy novel from your favorite author. Central to the story is a more or less average Joe who finds himself conscripted to fight a war not of his choosing. Upon returning home from his first battle, he finds that the war, and something far worse, has visited death and destruction to his home town. The remainder of the album details his quest to avenge his family’s death, and the very personal effects of embarking on such a journey.
Given their very detailed and specific approach to the composition, the music dovetails with the story narrative in a way seldom found outside of movie scores. The story and the music were literally written for each other. Between the lines, each member’s traits come out. The music is at times violent, dark, and angry, but even at their heaviest, Fade To Oblivion maintains an element of melody. Amidst the tragedy of the story, the melody gives the listener and the story’s protagonist, some hope for a happy resolution. It is up to the listener to determine if that is actually the case.
Guitarist Alex Furst, who also recorded and produced the album, brings a speed metal/thrash aesthetic to the music and much of the rhythm section. Alex’s riff’s dovetail with the American death and power metal influences of Sam Linn, who provides the majority of the melodic riffs. Rarely are the two guitarists doubling a part. David Merriman somehow manages to tie these disparate elements together on bass, as well as adding his own arsenal of growls, screams, shouts, singing, and everything in between. Drums were written and recorded by the band members after the loss of their drummer during the recording process.
‘Of Death And Vengeance’ was recorded, mixed, and mastered in Columbus, Ohio and is the result of input by fans, musicians, writers, critics, and the band themselves. Literally years in the making, the album is a reminder of just how effective the Midwest can be in developing quality metal music. And the Midwest will be seeing much more of Fade To Oblivion, as the band plans to tour the area in support of the album after filling the vacant drummer position.
‘Of Death And Vengeance’ will be released September 3rd, 2013. Digital copies will be available on Bandcamp, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play Music, and many other outlets. Physical copies and additional merchandise is available through the band’s website at www.fadetooblivion.com.