An Interview With Guitarist Gabriel Luis Fallen Martyr
Washington DC based metallers Fallen Martyr released their second EP “The Six Roots of True Will” in June of 2009. Samples of the tracks “The Man Becomes The Prophet,” “Reverse Metamorphosis,” and “All In” can be heard at the band’s MySpace page. Fallen Martyr’s guitarist Gabriel Luis shared with me the history of the band and their upcoming tour and recording plans.
Gabriel: The band formed in 2004 by myself and Doug Albers (Fallen Martyr’s bassist) when we were about 16. At the time we were known as Last Horizon. The current lineup consists of myself, Ryan Rawlings, Jake Ford, Doug Albers, and Michael Gerlach. Ryan and I attended elementary school together and me and Doug have been jamming since early in high school. When we needed a new guitarist and drummer about a year ago we brought in Jake and Mike. They had videos on YouTube so that’s basically how we knew they had the skills needed to play our style of music. This is the best and most stable line up to date. Everyone gets along, No ego's, no problems. I’ve been playing music in some form since I was about 7- 8 years old. I really loved classical music as a kid and played violin for a few years, then trumpet. I got into guitar when I saw my uncle playing, I got my dad’s old acoustic and started learning Nirvana songs, then it just went from there. I can read and write music for the most part without an instrument and I have an understanding of theory, so it helps allot when it comes to writing. Other than Fallen Martyr I have never been in another band.
Gabriel explained how “The Six Roots of True Will” was recorded and how the EP was different from their first offering “Winter EP.”
Gabriel: We recorded the EP at our old practice space. A friend of the band who attended Omega studios and was pro tools certified recorded it for us. For what it is and how it was recorded I’m proud of it. Things could have definitely been better tweaked, synths not being loud enough, etc. I guess you could say it was produced ourselves. I wrote 3 of the songs alone and the other 2 are a collaborative effort between myself and Mike. We finally started working with synths and piano's etc. I have been wanting to do this ever since the band started. Not until Mike joined did this become possible, He definitely gave the push to do it, so we did. Also Ryan is doing more vocally and singing alot more. I like the growling and screaming, but on the EP Ryan wanted to start singing more. Which is totally fine with me, it’s brought a drastic change in the live shows. More people have gotten into the songs and actually sing along. It’s great.
As would be expected from a six song EP titled “The Six Roots of True Will,” there is a continuing theme throughout the tracks.
Gabriel: I’m not really able to explain it as well as Ryan would be able to but from what I understand it’s about a man who has to accept that mankind is just as capable for good as it is for evil and when he accepts it he will reach true enlightenment. The six roots comes from a Buddhist belief that there are three main evils and three main goods and the true will comes from The book of the law. It’s basically two ideas connected into one story. And even though it’s a story I believe Ryan ties personal elements into it, as if the man in the story is actually him. A lot of its open ended in the way it’s written so in the end the listener has to come to their own idea. Eventually Ryan will be taking more of the role of this man later on in the live show once we get it all figured out and get our stage production up to the level we'd like. Being unsigned it’s a little hard to do that right now but it’s something we are currently working on. Ryan does all the lyrics. He has a notebook with stuff he has written and ideas he jots down. But he doesn’t write vocal patterns until he has music. Myself and mike write and record demos all the time, so as of late we have been dishing out tunes nonstop. This time around Mike has written more so it’s sped things up now that he's solidified his position in the band.
Because of the many eclectic elements in Fallen Martyr’s music I was interested in hearing about their local metal scene. Gabriel had this to say about the bands in their area:
Gabriel: Honestly I can’t say there's any kind of real metal scene. We are friends with Periphery and they're bringing the spotlight to DC, but there's a lot of kids out there too busy sizing each other up and trying to be tough and "out-brutal" other bands, so it doesn’t give the area a chance to have a real scene. We have played shows with bands that have more of a hardcore/deathcore influence and those shows didn’t really do to well for us. Unless the song is 100% breakdowns some kids won’t like you. It’s kind of more like, there’s a few bands here and there trying to make this into a career in our area, not so much a scene though. There's a big hard rock/alt scene though. That also make it hard to be a metal band in the area.
Gabriel also filled me in on the band’s upcoming live shows and their plans for recording new material
Gabriel: We will be opening for God Dethroned and Abigail Williams. We also have a show with Epica and Daath booked. We will be playing this awesome huge nice venue in Dec called Rams Head live as part of an X-mas festival. The national acts haven’t been told to us since it’s not allowed to be known yet but we are told its going to be amazing. We have 7 new songs written and are aiming for three to five more. Hopefully we will have label support by the time it’s done with but I can only hope. However, we will be recording a few of the new songs sometime in Nov. the latest, and will be giving out the mp3's for free online.
Fallen Martyr’s guitarist also shared his musical tastes and gave a few suggestions on albums he’s been listening to lately.
Gabriel: I don’t just listen to metal. I’m a strong believer that good music is good music, and genres shouldn’t matter. When you open yourself up to more sounds, inspirations comes much more easily. Right now vie been stuck on these albums:
“Amnesiac” and “Kid A” - Radiohead
“Images and Words” - Dream Theater
“Morningrise” and “Still life” - Opeth
“The Resistance” - Muse
“Antichrist Superstar” - Marilyn Manson
“The Hinderers” - Daath
“At the Heart of Winter” - Immortal
“Stormblast” - Dimmu Borgir
“Storm of the Lights bane” – Dissection
You can catch Fallen Martyr live on the following dates:
10/18 GOD DETHRONED, ABIGAIL WILLIAMS, WOE OF TYRANTS @ JAXX Springfield, Virginia
10/30 Metalfest @ College of William and Mary williamsburg, Virginia
12/12 RAMS HEAD LIVE Baltimore, Maryland
1/26 2010 EPICA, DAATH, BLACKGAURD @ JAXX Springfield, Virginia
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