Forged In Black have been knocking around the Southend, Essex Metal scene for a fair number of years under their previous moniker Merciless Fail. Having won the Essex heats of Metal 2 The Masses and inevitably heading up to Bloodstock to showcase their wares on the New Blood Stage, the band felt that a name change was the best way to carry on their musical direction. So they adopted the name of their debut album.
Members came and went during the Forged In Black - Merciless Fail crossover period with Josh Moreton and Gabriel Valentine making the cut, Kevin Rochester did leave only to make a welcomed return. The latest member to leave this band of merry men was Tim, and as Kieron stated an announcement is on the table, ready for unveiling in due course.
But as Kieron entered our interrogation chamber, we wondered how Forged In Black he really is. Let's hope the band take our pun in jest, we love them really...
It's been sometime since your Bloodstock appearance, what significant events have taken place in the Forged In Black camp since then?
"Since Bloodstock we've played a whole host of great London venues including: Camden Underworld, Camden Barfly and the Relentless Garage. We've also worked with two acclaimed producers: Romesh Dodangoda (Motorhead, Sylosis) and Chris Tsangarides (Judas Priest, Thin Lizzy, Yngwie Malmsteen) which has resulted in the respective releases of 'The Exodus' single and the new 'Fear Reflecting Fear' EP. We also underwent a name change which we feel was much more reflective of the music we play; we have been gigging as Forged in Black for three and a half years now."
Having played at Bloodstock, what advice could you perhaps offer to those performing at a major festival for the first time? Especially the unsigned / M2TM bands?
"The best piece of advice we could give is to enjoy every moment of the experience and take advantage of all the great opportunities that come with playing a huge festival."
"You're due to release your latest EP 'Fear Reflecting Fear' at the end of April, how does this differ from your previous EP 'The Tide'?"
"We feel that 'Fear Reflecting Fear' is a definite progression in terms of song writing. We've tried to keep all the elements that comprise our sound (operatic vocals, guitar harmonies, breakdowns) but we've tried to add a progressive tinge to some of the tracks. This is especially true of the title track and 'Shadows Still Remain' which have a variety of feel and time changes."
How was it working with Chris Tsangarides? With this EP, do you reckon it will catapult you onto the European Metal circuit sharply?
"Chris was an absolute joy to work with; a true professional who made us feel extremely comfortable throughout the process. His attitude and ideas were fantastic. It was a privilege to work with such a legendary producer. We really hope this release will extend our reach across Europe. We feel this release caters for a variety of metalheads, including: fans of NWOBHM, Doom metal and Thrash. There's something for everyone! We really hope Europe can embrace this EP."
Kevin left the band but returned, did he miss performing or what was the reason on his delightful return? On the other hand Tim left, what was the reason for his departure?
"Kev was glad to have a break from the sometimes chaotic atmosphere of playing in a band but as you say he missed performing. He tried a few other projects but realised that Forged was where he wanted to be. It's been great working with him again.
Tim left as he wanted to spend more time focusing on his career. Unfortunately it's not always possible to reconcile this focus with the demands of a band and we fully understood his decision to leave. We wish him all the best. Since then we recorded the EP with guitarist Rowan Beverluis. Unfortunately this didn't quite work out and we have since been performing as a four piece. We have recently auditioned a few guitarists and hope to make an announcement soon regarding the new line up."
What challenges would you say unsigned bands face these days, what challenges have you had and how did you overcome these?
"The real challenge for an unsigned band these days is setting yourself apart from other aspiring artists. Social media allows everyone to showcase their music so you have to think of strategies to stand out from the crowd. We feel the new EP, with all its strengths, is our vehicle for getting more notice."
What is the current state of the Essex Metal scene? Is it vibrant, fluctuating? What do you feel (if anything) is lacking?
"Essex definitely has a strong metal scene. Venues such as Chinnerys (Southend) and the Asylum (Chelmsford) are always showcasing some of the best local talent and these venues are attracting some of the most established metal acts. Chinnerys recently put on a show with legendary thrash band, Exodus as part of their European tour. I think this shows just how reputable the Essex metal scene is becoming."
What plans have you got for the rest of the year?
"For the rest of the year we will continue to promote the EP and we hope to record another set of tracks with Chris Tsangarides. Once these tracks are recorded we will combine them with the 'Fear Reflecting Fear' EP to release our second album."
Finally have you got any hello's, thank you's etc you wish to send out?
"Special thanks go to Chris Tsangarides as well as Bogdan Ciovica (firstname.lastname@example.org) for his work on our EP art".
"Fear Reflecting Fear" is out 29th April via an Independent Release.
There will be an EP release show at Chinnerys in Southend, Essex - entry is £3 otd.