THE FALLEN STATE - A Deadset Endeavour (Album)
Since forming in the autumn of 2013, North Devon’s THE FALLEN STATE have been working tirelessly, putting out a total of five EPs and touring alongside the likes of HALESTORM, BLACK STONE CHERRY, TREMONTI and 3 DOORS DOWN, as well as playing their own headline tours. This year, the band played in Europe for the first time with POP EVIL and it’s recently been announced that they’re playing the Rising Stage at Ramblin’ Man Fair (19-21 July). There are sure to be more announcements forthcoming, so keep your eyes on their social media!
In the summer of last year, the band recorded their debut album at Manchester’s Red City Recordings, then struck up a deal with new label Last Man Music. The debut album was produced and mixed by David Radahd-Jones and mastered by Grant Berry. ‘A Deadset Endeavour’ will be unleashed worldwide on 12th April 2019.
There’s a strong theme running through this album, about trying to make it in the music industry, from a personal, emotional perspective; it’s a deadset endeavour. As vocalist Ben Stenning told me, “The theme of the album is stripping back the façade of the music industry and telling the darker truth of self conflict and adversity that is at the heart of most up and coming musicians. It includes the breakdown of friendships, battling with mental health and attempting to overcome the inbuilt absurdities and power struggles related to being a creator in the way the modern (music) industry is set up. It is basically a ‘getting off the chest’ of everything and all the songs show different aspects of that”. The album cover depicts a theatre stage upon which sits an intricate set of scales holding a heart on one side, weighed up against the potential riches to be made on the other.
Album opener ‘Statements’ begins with a simple riff then thundering drums join in which tail off to a more subdued beat as the heartfelt vocal begins. As the vocals soar with an outpouring of emotions in the chorus, “I’ve been forgotten, I’ve been left out for dead, it’s all part of my plan, I’ll be damned by the liars, But not by my friends”, the palpable vulnerability and rawness comes through not just in Ben Stenning’s unmistakable vocals, but in each and every instrument. A singing, shredding guitar solo from maestro Jon Price just before the final chorus reinforces the emotion in the lyrics. The song ends abruptly and I’m left wondering what on earth can follow such a dramatic introduction.
‘For My Sorrow’ is impactful from the off, deftly-produced crashing drums from Rich Walker and Greg Butler’s deep, booming bass notes rumbling. Its melodic tones almost hide the poignancy of the lyrics, but this is a song for whacking the volume right up and singing along to; it’s an invigorating ear worm. The bridge gives a lull, “I’m sick of emotion, I’m sick of the notion, That we pay for devotion, That we pay…” before it takes off once more at full steam ahead.
The delicate intro to ‘American Made’ lulls me into a false sense of security the first time I hear it, and that is one of the things I find so exciting about THE FALLEN STATE; They aren’t predictable. This hooky, richly organic song features those monster riffs for which guitarists Dan Oke and Jon Price are known, plus galloping drums from Walker and resonating bass from Butler. It’s an anthemic groove of a metaphor about whilst you’re good, you’re just not being exactly what someone was looking for, specifically in the music industry, and was the first single (released 8th March) to be taken from the album. “You’re not American made, And so far you’re not my taste, It’s close but its not the same - how without selling out can I have it all? You ain't from the USA, You don’t get the money and fame, I guess that’s the price you pay - cos I’m not American made”. The tongue in cheek video is pretty awesome too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiMp4uHl_ac
‘Paradox’ has well crafted riffs, that booming bass/galloping drum combination and wonderfully flowing harmonies, the emotionally-rich chorus soaring ever higher. The bridge shows the vulnerability in Stenning’s vocal, and when the driving bass kicks in again, it is breathtaking. One song that will be familiar to anyone who has pre-ordered the album is ‘Torn’. It’s a fierce number with abrasive riffs to start that cut to a forceful, sneery vocal with plenty of attitude. Riffs flow aplenty but the punchy drumming from powerhouse Rich Walker steal the phenomenal show on this track.
On ‘Can’t Fight the Feeling’ you can hear the primal anguish in the vocal as the song builds. Solid relentless drumming and masterful guitar work backed with heavy bass make it an emotive song you just have to move to. The intense ‘Open Wound’ is a riveting rollercoaster ride from start to finish and more reminiscent of the songs the band have in their back catalogue than the rest of the album.
‘Attitude’ is definitely not one for playing in the car if you’re trying to stick to the speed limit! Like all the songs offered up here, it ebbs and flows with the hard hitting drum and resonating bass combo of Walker and Butler, ably aided in the rhythm section by melodious riffs from Oke.
The dynamic ‘Lovers & Psychos’ starts as it means to go on with a dramatic burst of sound. What ensues is a headbanging lesson in hard rock that everyone needs to attend. This is one of the few songs from the album that has been tested out live and it went down a storm when nobody knew it, so I can only imagine how well it will be received at a gig once the album is out.
Last song ‘Fragments’ made an instant impression on me the first time I heard it and still gives me head to toe goosebumps every time I hear it. I won’t dissect the song and describe each individual element but the lyrics really resonate with me and Stenning’s voice on this is just incredible and seems to seep right into your soul.
What is obvious from listening to ‘A Deadset Endeavour’ is that THE FALLEN STATE have spent the last five and a half years honing their craft. The band write and perform the same type of dynamic, exhilarating music but it has evolved into being slightly more polished whilst also retaining that innate rawness but with even more visceral depth. If you really take the time to listen to each song, you can tell these guys have been on a hell of a journey together, and they don’t want the ride to stop any time soon.
‘A Deadset Endeavour’ is a remarkable piece of work; it’s hands down the best album I have heard in YEARS! I simply cannot stop listening to it, on repeat, repeatedly. Individually these five young men have talent by the bucketload but put them all in a band together and that makes it truly magical. If this band don’t make it big there is something seriously wrong.
‘A Deadset Endeavour’ track listing:-
For My Sorrow
Can’t Fight The Feeling
Lovers & Psychos
Pre-order the album here: https://adeadsetendeavour.bigcartel.com/
Ben Stenning - vocals
Greg Butler - bass
Jon Price - guitar
Dan Oke - guitar
Rich Walker - drums
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