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Forged In Black's Andy Songhurst: " We can follow through with a vibe or direction really quick without getting bogged down trying to figure out the specifics and risk losing the flow"

Interview with Andy Songhurst from Forged In Black
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 12 April 2019, 6:51 PM

Showing plenty of promise in their ongoing journey to Metallic greatness, the British Heavy / Thrash Metal band, Forged In Black, might be one of the next in line. After years of being on their own, the band was recently signed by the Spanish Fighter Records for the release of their brand new sophomore, “Descent Of The Serpent”. Steinmetal had a talk with guitarist Andy Songhurst about what this album is all about, both lyrically and musically, challenges and more

Hi Andy, thank you for the time to take this interview for Metal Temple online magazine on behalf of your band Forged In Black. Pleased to meet you. So, how are things going on your end?

Good man, been keeping real busy with gigs and forging on with our new “Descent of the Serpent" album release shows via Fighter records and getting all these great reviews. It’s great to get the opportunity to speak to you.

I believe it was 2016, the first time that I listened to Forged In Black, with your EP “Fear Reflecting Fear”. I have to admit that afterwards I lost touch a bit with the constant flow of bands, but here you guys are with a new album, “Descent Of The Serpent”, and also under a Spanish label, Fighter Records. Let’s start with how come, after being independent for years, you decided that it was time to sign in a label?

Well Fighter Records have a great roster of NWOBHM inspired bands and we thought we'd be a great fit, whilst providing something a little different with our heavier, more contemporary elements. They also let us maintain a lot of independence whilst helping us reach a bigger audience and more contacts. We feel we benefit without having to compromise anything so it was a no brainer! The new album also felt like a real step up so we thought now would be the time to join forces in our goal of total and complete world domination…

Were there talks on reissuing the debut self-titled album with Fighter Records? Or perhaps a compilation of the three EPs into one single release?

We’ve been so excited about the new material that we haven’t had serious talks about it yet. We are very proud of our previous work and feel it does still show the fundamentals of what defines our sound. I think that may be a discussion we shall have. thanks for the idea!

Other than being a massive show of force, “Descent Of The Serpent” portrays you guys even better as a Metal band that shares its honor to the early form of the genre, but also open enough to show several tricks, crossing into different subgenres, some of them contemporary. How do you perceive the band’s musical advancement in regards to the new album?

I think this time around we chased each song to its fullest potential, letting each track grow in its own direction. It felt like they all had their own distinct personalities that we could get caught up in and to try and nurture the best of rather than change. Parenthood can be so very rewarding. We’ve also grown a lot more fluent musically and I think our intuitions have gotten better. We can follow through with a vibe or direction really quick without getting bogged down trying to figure out the specifics and risk losing the flow. We also took more risks this time, such as the fairground intro to "Palm of Silver" and use of lots of time signatures and sound effects in "Aphelion Tormentor". Ultimately I think the album has more fluent, ambitious song writing and more technical competency and is a summation of what we’ve always wanted to achieve.

Concerning the songwriting on “Descent Of The Serpent”, how would you describe the band going forward with somewhat more complex challenges?

Well I’ve become a black belt at using tabbing software. For those that don’t know, you can use it to type in guitar riffs, drum beats and my favourite, football whistles. It can also play it back to you, although it will sound like it’s from a Game Boy. It’s super useful for composing complicated pieces and being able to listen to the basis of a song and how it flows. I think being able to use that and music theory have allowed the creation of more complex and thought out music. And for me to sneak in football whistle sounds when everyone’s trying to concentrate.

What is “Descent Of The Serpent” all about really? Lyrical wise I mean. Is there a mutual connection between the songs, other than being rather dark in their atmosphere?

No this is not a concept album, each song told its own story. I wrote the song and named it king II as a working title. It was one of the first tracks I brought to the table and I wanted it to be a thrash epic with middle eastern influences. After bringing it to the table me, Stoz, and a few coronas were inspired by the Mayan serpent god Kukulkan, for whom they built temples and sacrificed people to. The scales descend down the temple to the snake’s head at the bottom and during the Equinox the scales light up, exposing the portal to the underworld.

I have to admit that it might be a tough choice to come up with a favourite track, as you guys really did an awesome job. Nonetheless, I have to ask you for your first pick, a song that made an impact on you, whether in its sense or music. Please elaborate

"Palm of Silver" is probably the one that does it for me… The creepy intro and crazy, haphazard thrash start with neo classical undertones being a tear to my eye. I love the musical journey it goes on too with lots of darkness and grandeur. The lyrical themes of around fortune telling with the creepy carnival parts seem to give it a real character.

Being a rather newcomer band in the British scene, even with the band being around since 2007 although under a different moniker, do you feel there is a change going on? Especially with the British Metal gods slowly forwarding themselves into retirement. Are there any bands that you can mark as the next in line big leaguers?

I think technicality and musicianship have become more important and artists having to understand the industry and how to use all the tools like social media and stuff. We don’t really keep up with trends or what hairstyles are in this year but the reds been plenty of bands like Evile, Savage Messiah and Gojira we would be really excited to see blow up.
Presumably you will be tearing apart your local club scene with shows to support the album, possibly a UK tour. Nonetheless, will you be heading out to explore Europe anytime soon?

We have shows all over the UK currently but were yet to announce any European dates just yet, although it is something we plan on doing!

Andy, I am glad we had this little chat. I enjoyed your music and sound, you really paved yourselves a fine path to go on, determined to go forward. Keep yourselves busy mate, all the best.


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Edited 07 October 2022

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