One-man metal project Fallen Keys brings us a delightfully heavy yet experimental experience that’s packed full of funky rhythms and melodies.
Fusing classic heavy metal and thrash with elements of grunge, djent and post-hardcore, the Washington DC project proclaims to offer a “cathartic instrumental journey through the five stages of grief.”
Our first taste of this is Excision, a track from his debut EP Instauration, which was released in September. It starts off with light guitars and echoey distant sounds that build into a laid-back lick and a funky little bassline in a chilled out intro.
But it soon bursts into life with darting guitar riff over big drums, then drawn-out guitar chords over another cool little bassline. It then builds up to a huge guitar solo that continues over stabbing little guitars to bring the track to a dramatic ending. Give it a listen below:
We had a chat with the man behind the project to find out a little more. Read on below…
GR: Who are Fallen Keys?
FK: “Fallen Keys is a one-man progressive metal project based in Washington DC. It’s the name under which I plan to release the music I’ve written over the years as well as new ideas I’m working on now.”
GR: You just released Excision, what should people be expecting from the track?
FK: “Excision is the mid-point of the Instauration EP – a concept record loosely based on the five stages of grief – and represents the descent and emergence from depression. It’s the most dynamic and introspective-sounding track on the record.”
GR: How would you describe the Fallen Keys sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
FK: “I would say the sound of Fallen Keys is primarily emotive. The majority of tracks on this first release, including Excision, were written while I was in high school half a lifetime ago. I was very much influenced by 80s thrash metal and 90s grunge at the time, and so Instauration is extremely aggressive and technical, but also dark and heavy (although when is metal not any of those things haha).”
GR: Very true! What inspires you to write music?
FK: “Whether consciously or not I end up channeling a lot of negative emotion into my music. I think it’s primarily born out of a frustration with not being able to articulate my feelings accurately in words. This release is instrumental but my lyrics tend to be a little detached and cerebral, which is why I’m hoping to one day make this project more collaborative and work with other singers and songwriters. Perhaps doing each successive record with a different vocalist and on a different theme.”
GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your biggest influences?
FK: “I’d have to say Megadeth and Alice in Chains are probably my most discernible influences, especially in this song. Artists who have definitely been a gamechanger for me over the years in terms of what I think is possible to do with music (but haven’t necessarily consciously tried to emulate) have been Devo, Meshuggah, Mastodon, Steven Wilson/Porcupine Tree, Max Cavalera, and more recently Devin Townsend and Don Broco. A lot of the lighter/poppier music I listen to mostly gets channelled into my indie band Bite Marks, so all of the heavy stuff is going into this project.”
GR: What have you got coming up as we move towards 2020?
FK: “Recording/producing this first EP was pretty painstaking so I kind of want to release something raw and unpolished next, likely a single called Fist Versus Concrete. For 2020 I’m working (concurrently with the next Bite Marks release) on a Fallen Keys album of more politically-themed songs I wrote with the band I formed in college but never officially released. I’m tentatively calling it Enragement Rates, a soundtrack for the dysfunctional America we can expect to live in next year.”
GR: Anything else you’d like to know about Fallen Keys or your music?
FK: “Making this record coincided with a very difficult and stressful period in my life, and I structured it to provide a cathartic experience for the listener. It’s definitely not going to appeal to everyone, but my goal with trying to promote the record is that someone going though a tough time will come across it and find listening helps externalize that negative emotion in a healthy way. That’s what the music I love has always done for me.
Thanks for listening and offering to promote the song. I really appreciate you taking the time to do so.”