It has been a long four years since the last time For The Fallen Dreams have released any music. In between different tours and writing schedules, the band has released their new dark and heavy record, Six. Starting with “Stone” this record is full of a creeping atmosphere established from the synthesizers that parade in the background. In the foreground the band charges at the ears of the listener with crushing riffs and visceral vocals. “The Undertow” shows a blend of discordant tones meshing with emotionally melodic progressions, especially with a refrain that focuses on being memorable. Different breakdowns propel the song forward with a booming urgency, especially during the song’s closing progression.
“Unstoppable” is a softer song vocally, with verses embracing a clean and dire vocal roaming overtop the swaying guitars and rhythm. “Ten Years” is a song with a thick groove section that full of that choppy guitar work that the band has been known for. The song is relentless in its onslaught, attacking the listener with beatdown after beatdown. “Two Graves” is a sonic graveyard of controlled chaos between the sludgy atmosphere of the chorus and the staccato guitars. The lyrics of Six represent different themes across the record’s gnashing sound, showcasing a great depth to the record.
For The Fallen Dreams provide sounds for every fan of the band to fall in love with on their new record. Whether it is a bit of melody like “Void” or the grueling opener, Six is a behemoth that is driven by the band’s best work. New Noise Magazine is pleased to bring forth a track by track of Six , written by guitarist/backing vocals Jim Hooking from For The Fallen Dreams.
I wrote “Stone” in an hour. Once I opened the gates, everything just kind of worked itself out. That’s what happens when you’re honest. This song is deeply personal, a subject I don’t like to talk about and something I don’t normally publicly associate myself with for fear of criticism. I’ve struggled with anxiety and bouts of depression throughout most of my life and this is lyrical testimony. The song touches on the fact some people just don’t understand what it’s like to be in those dark places, and how they brush off the seriousness of your struggle.
This is the absolute FIRST song I started. We had just gotten our masters back for HEAVY HEARTS in 2013. THAT old. It evolved several times over the years and was arguably a completely different song before Brandon chopped up a studio demo we sent. We restructured it into what you hear now. Chad was working a lot while I was recording instruments and he was able to make it in for an entire session one of the first days we were able to record vocals. Josh, Chad and I collaborated on the lyrics that made for a strong, anthem-like chorus. One of those moments where everything just locks in.
“Unstoppable” is a bit of an homage to my musical interests that lie just outside heavy music. I wanted to keep heavy dynamics but use a rock structure with soaring choruses and softer verses. The song was originally written on a 6-string guitar in standard E, but I wanted it to sound HEAVY so we used a 7-string. Another pretty straight-shooting song when it comes to lyrics. Our lives all changed pretty substantially in our time between Heavy Hearts and SIX; this is about closing certain chapters of your life and moving on.
“Forever” was the last track we started writing for the album. Josh (Schroeder) and I had gone through all of my pre-production tracks dozens of times and felt we needed to wrap the album with a song that offered a different musical perspective. I recorded 9 songs with a 7-string and Josh had another 6-string in his studio so I tuned it to dropped F and started jamming the first riff for “Forever”. We were totally stuck after that and didn’t know where to take it. I’m glad we took a melodic turn with the chorus, it really pulled the thing together; but that change didn’t come until we were almost done with the album. Lyrically, it’s just venting frustrations with things not panning out how you hope them to, and the people that let you down.
Fire is the theme for “Burning Season.” (Water was for Undertow). Josh and I talked once about creating more imagery with our lyrics instead of your everyday angry metal guy jargon, keeping things aggressive without sacrificing any artistic expression. Six is the album we unleashed everything we ever wanted to do musically and lyrically and this one is a perfect example of that. It’s actually a lot more fun writing lyrics when you are trying to paint a picture all while getting your point across without sounding uninspired or overbearing.
Let’s be honest. Relationships can suck. Breakups can suck. Two Graves talks about the plethora of mental states you experience when going through a really tough relationship. There used to be a completely different singing part in this song. I finished the main phase of recording in 2016 and didn’t redo this song until the summer of 2017 when I went to Lee Albrecht here in Grand Rapids (local madman producer). We clicked very well and smashed out a bunch fixes that I was dying to get. Its funny, you take the album home for a while and start to hear a ton of things you wish you could change. On a normal record cycle, you are thrown into a studio with a deadline and release date shortly after. We took our sweet ass time. This allowed us time to dissect it, abandon it for a few weeks or months, then come back to it fresh only to find the missing link we couldn’t see before. Studio visits were sporadic over the course of the following year. Had to make it all right!
Ten Years is, to us, a song about ourselves. It talks about the struggle of being in a band; and time is a central theme. We have been a band for an amount of time that makes it difficult for most artists to keep it together and continue creating. People move, have kids, join bands, shit happens. The core members have stayed through all the changes and the soul of the band is still in tact. Aside from the literal meaning of the song, it’s easy to interpret things your own way and may say something completely different to someone else.
This song hit me like a truck out of the blue while we were recording the instruments. Chad and Josh waited around for me to get a few lines. Once we knew where the song was headed, we all clicked and put everything together. The lyrics are largely nostalgic. I had flashbacks of my mid-late teens, early twenties. Some of the best years of your life and at the time you have NO IDEA. I think most people look back on those years with fondness, we certainly do. We started the band at that time in our lives and its tough to know those times are long gone.
A fair amount of tracks are about anxiety and depression, but I think the underlying tone of the album references the overall changes that stem from the more serious commitments later in life, ie. Having children, marriage, etc. Brandon had a kid, I had a kid, Chad started working a serious contracting job. Life totally changed in the few years we had off, so we had a lot pent up before entering the studio. These songs are how we expressed those feelings that were bottled up for years.
We closed the album with “The Storm” because the mood and driving force behind the chorus just FEELS like closing vibes to me. It’s more of a general statement about feeling like you’re alone through the hardest times, regardless of who is really there to help. There’s a lyrical Easter egg hidden in the song and it references a certain Australian post-apocalyptic remake movie line. Take a guess.