Fusing technical and progressive metal with furious heavy influences, Oxford’s LestWeForget are quickly establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with. Their sound is built around juxtaposition: complex meets catchy; intricate riffs and soaring guitars met by pounding rhythms; and engaging clean vocals against ferocious screams. The result is described to us by the band as “anthemic, technical and full-blooded.”
The quartet initially began with schoolmates JH Norris (lead vocals and bass) and Harry Lingard-Bright (lead guitar), who were soon joined by Dec Doran (drums) then Paul Heavey (guitar and vocals) completing the line-up in December.
And on the band’s JH explains: “All of us have been in that position where you stand in a crowd at a show, look up at the band on stage and think ‘I want to do what she/he is doing.’ We’ve all spent a long time learning an instrument, going to gigs, buying records etc…, but nothing quite compares to the energy that you encounter being on stage. There’s really nothing like the feeling you get when a crowd sings the words to your songs back at you.
“Ultimately, though, we started this band because we find gigging, recording and playing together a huge amount of fun. Any success beyond that is a bonus as far as we’re concerned.”
And the fact that they’ve already supported some of our favourite bands here at GR Towers, in Wars, Chapter and Verse and Yashin, certainly hasn’t harmed their chances. As JH says: “We’ve been lucky enough to support some incredible bands, including the three you’ve mentioned above – they were all a blast to play with, and hopefully we’ll get the chance to share the stage with them again in the near future (Yashin reunion anyone?).”
On the LestWeForget approach, JH tells us: “More than anything else, we aim to bridge the gap between progressive metal and more traditional styles. We’re a hybrid of the two, rather than an out-and-out prog band, and we try to include as many characteristics of both as we can. So we’ll write a ‘core’ verse that flows into a 7/4 breakdown, which then transitions into a memorable chorus. The latter is the thing we try to deliver most – a massive chorus that you can belt out at the top of your lungs.”
Our latest taster of this is Zero Won, which was released in January, and opens up with a blitz of guitar riffs. That gives way to an engaging opening verse “Is there no escape from this algorithmic sanctuary? A landscape of destruction overlooks a blackened sea, A binary sun keeps watch over us lest we disconnect our minds, It seems dystopia isn’t quite what we meant it to be,” which feeds into a big singalong chorus “Wander on, pilgrims in a wasteland of your own design, To walk alone until the end of time, Synthetic kings have pulled the strings which led to our demise, A race reduced to hiding behind cold, lifeless eyes.”
The intensity increases as big screamed vocals take over in the second verse, then give way to a burst of guitars then another big chorus. That drops into a big guitar solo, then a final verse gives way to another solo, then booming guitar chords drop into a laid back version of the chorus before ending on an energetic high. Check it out in the video below:
On the single, JH told us: “The reaction to the single has been unreal. We’ve received a number of rave reviews from a variety of different publications, from prog blogs to traditional metal mags, and have managed to secure a tonne of radio play. Being playlisted on Spotify too has meant that our monthly listeners count has skyrocketed. We couldn’t be more grateful for the support we’ve received.
“For those who haven’t checked it out, expect a four-and-a-half-minute blend of technicality and prog with ‘core’ elements and a catchy, stadium-filling chorus. Zero Won has a bit of everything – a syncopated main riff, heavy sections and an ear-worm of a chorus line.”
That followed 2017 single Sweet Serenity, which begins slowly then suddenly launches into a huge guitar solo supported by darting chords that continue through an edgy opening verse. Huge screamed vocals kick in and feed into a big singalong chorus. Check it out in the lyric video below:
The band’s sound takes in shared influences like TesseracT, Dream Theater, Architects and Avenged Sevenfold. As JH tells us: “All of these musicians have incredible versatility and imagination, and we aim to be as ambitious in our writing as they are in theirs.”
And on what inspires them to write music, JH explains: “We always try to tell a story in every song we write. For instance, Zero Won is intended as the first single from an upcoming EP, the fictional narrative of which will focus on the last two humans alive after man’s dependence on technology causes their downfall.
“The unique facet of the narrative is that this desire for technological advancement eventually devastated humanity’s ability to emotionally communicate with one another. So the story follows this pair as they struggle to understand one another.”
The band are heading into the studio this month to finish the recording of their debut EP, which they hope to release in the next few months. You can also catch them gigging near you soon, kicking off at The Black Prince in Northampton on 12 April, then in Southampton, Blackpool, London, Birmingham and Wigan. More info on all their gigs is here.
As JH says: “The only thing left to say is – come to a show! You can find all of our announced gigs at our website, so get yourselves down and come and chat to us face to face – meeting people at gigs is always immensely fun, and we love hearing back from audiences and fellow music lovers.”