Interview with Chris “Stolz” Storozynski (Lead Vocals)
The UK’s Forged In Black create unapologetically classic and true to form heavy metal, and in this interview we discussed history, the recording process, working with now deceased legendary producer Chris Tsangarides, as well as a little talk about the band’s geekier side.
TGT: I always like to start with a band’s history, no matter how famous they are. Because no one tells a band’s history quite like the band themselves. Judging from what I’ve gleamed here in the press release, you gentlemen have quite a long one. I don’t recall much, so please explain your origins to myself and the readers. Quite simply, how did you get to this point?
Stoz: Andy and Kieron started the band with friends at school and Kev joined soon after. Back then, we were called Merciless Fail. After a lineup change in 2011, I joined and we set about writing more and were lucky enough to win “Metal to the Masses Essex” and played the mighty Bloodstock festival as a result. We felt that the name Merciless Fail wasn’t strong enough to reflect our developing sound, so we decided to change it to Forged In Black.This was a name from a track off the original first album, which had developed into our anthemic closing number. I believe Kieron had originally come up with that title.
Your influences are certainly along the lines of Sabbath, Candlemass, Maiden and others, but what do you think are some of the best albums ever released in this particular genre? What are some discs that you can go back and say, “that was a definite influence on the band or a certain track that we wanted to do?”
Well, we have individual influences and some of us share a few, so it’s hard to pin it down as we all write our tracks eighty percent collectively; so we are always throwing ideas out there into the melting pot. I believe we are all strongly influenced by the British styles, as you say, Sabbath, Maiden, Priest, Purple etc. We all like classic rock, thrash, prog and of course loads of different metal sub genres but we don’t ever sit there trying to rewrite any of the greats, we just write what we believe is good and best for our song at the time. We strive to make the best original music that we can and are currently writing our new album, which will be out in the summer.
What was it like working with such a legendary producer as Chris Tsangarides? The man has worked with so many gems like Priest and Sabbath, which I would consider the great grandparents of this whole genre – everyone has their work to thank for the numerous evolutions we’ve seen, and yet their work has not aged or fallen out of favor with me.
Bless CT, we miss him dearly. The news of his death really shook us and we still wish all his family and friends our love. It was an honour and privilege to have had the chance to work with such a legend and call him a friend. We recorded the EP’s “Fear Reflecting Fear” and “Sinner Sanctorum” with him at his studio down in Dover. In true CT style, we probably spent more time talking, laughing and listening to stories of the great bands and people he had met along the way, then we did cracking on with recording, but we always managed to get the job done and always with a smile on our face.
That leads to my next question. I’ve noticed judging from opinions in numerous heavy metal circles mostly comprised of the current generation (do we call them Z?) that classic acts like Priest, Maiden, Anthrax, Metallica, Slayer and others have indeed fallen out of favor with these youths. Sabbath surprisingly remains unharmed, but it breaks my metal heart to see the classics not only being skipped over, but considered “inferior” compared to their modern acts. Now I know that this was bound to happen over time, but its disheartening. That being said, a lot of traditional and newer power metal is getting shunned over and looked on as a joke. What do you think about all this?
We don’t actually see that ourselves. Most of the younger generation that we know still love the classic bands and even if some don’t, they are respected. I don’t really see the “old guard” being looked over as they are still selling out all over the world and releasing some fantastic new material. If anything they are probably putting some younger bands to shame. With us still trying to secure our first record deal and looking to grab opportunities, we do need the promoters and industry to look at newer up and coming bands like us. The older bands like Sabbath are starting to hang up their crosses, and who will be the next headliners if there is no one cutting their teeth now?
Let’s talk about life on the road, as you guys have toured with so many amazing bands like Savage Messiah, Tim “Ripper” Owens and many more. What was it like touring with these acts, and do you have any awesome or just plain funny tour stories?
We have been very lucky so far and managed to meet and play with some of our heroes. Tim Ripper Owens, for instance, was such a pleasure to meet and chat to. We ended up sharing a beer and the stage with him whilst he was jamming out “Living After Midnight.”
As The Grim Tower combines music with geek culture, we want to know what kinds of things you geek out on. These don’t necessarily have to be books, movies, video games, television, exc – just anything that you devote a lot of time to aside from music and would recommend to others.
I know myself, Kieron and Kev are fans of wrestling in its different forms and decades, WWF/E/WCW etc. Kev probably takes the geek crown though, as he has collected comic books for years, loves horror & sci-fi films as well as various TV shows, plus he is a Doctor Who nut! Obviously we all listen to music and a wide variety of bands. Currently our time is taken up with writing the new album, which will be recorded by Romesh Dodangoda in Cardiff, around April.
Forged In Black
The UK’s Forged In Black have given us a short sampling of their upcoming album, which will be available in September. From these four songs, we can denote a great deal of Candlemass, Sabbath, Maiden and several other acts in the “old guard” that Stoz mentioned in the interview above. Sometimes even some harsh vocals are uttered, which is a definite nuance for the band that I don’t remember hearing on their earlier Fear Reflecting Fear EP. Despite the doom or groove influences uttered, the band still manages to throw in a little bit of prog here and there, which seems to keep the recording fresh. We’re getting a disc that definitely thumps, but has enough class and beauty within the vocal implementation that it just simply works. Also, Tsangarides truly allowed the disc to come across like a golden age classic with a production level that feels right at home with some of metal’s most celebrated albums. There’s a strong Anthrax vibe on the title cut as well, which certainly helps to diversify the performance in a manner that I think properly respects the classics. Though it is true that Forged In Black are playing true heavy metal through and through, it’s nice to see that we’re simply getting more than that from this release. Sinner Sanctorum is the kind of record that we couldn’t have had before the age of extreme metal, and it makes me wonder if the band are attempting to work with death metal on their next release, though certainly constructing it to work well within this classic metal soup that they have prepared so well. The disc is short, but it gives us a fine sample of what these UK heavyweights are capable of doing within this scene and leaves me with a fine sense of hope for the future of heavy metal as a whole.
(4 Tracks, 27:00)
Purchase HERE (Bandcamp)