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Fractured Insanity’s Stefan Van Bael: “The inescapable failure of a society built upon growth and its destruction of the earth's living systems are the overwhelming facts of our existence at this point; It challenges us to re-think about our society"

Interview with Dieter Daems & Stefan Van Bael from Fractured Insanity
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 21 May 2020, 2:10 AM

The name of the game is no pressure, working in an own schedule in order to come up with the best possible results. It is true that the clock is ticking, especially if the label is on top of business and there is a product to show for. Nonetheless, it has been proven, time and time again that when an artist is focused, has time to breathe, he or they have more motivation and ambition with a chance to end up with a stellar end result. Steinmetal had a chance to talk to two of the technical minds of Fractured Insanity, Dieter Daems and Stefan Van Bael, about the band’s new album, “Massive Human Failure”, delivering their morbid vision upon us, along with technical Death Metal madness.

Hello guys, it is great to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online magazine, how have you been doing mate? Things are starting to heat up with the current status of Fractured Insanity I trust?

Dieter: Hi, thanks for your time. Yeah, things were getting busy for us, but due to the situation with the Coronavirus, we had to cancel a gig and plans for other gigs are difficult to make, because we have no idea how long the situation will continue. We are very glad we still had our release shows, 3 weeks before everything got cancelled. When we look at our friends from Thanatos, they just released their latest album, but couldn't do any release show. That's frustrating, knowing they invested a lot in merch and people buy merch at shows, not so much online because of high postcosts.

Determined, and with a lot of anger to share with every listener, Fractured Insanity returns to the scene, with a provocative feature of both musical and esoteric proportions, brandishing “Massive Human Failure”. The album has been out for several days now, how do your fans get it? Do they appreciate your thought patterns on this offering? Did you have the chance to play some of the new songs live, introducing your newfound power?

Dieter: Yeah we get great reactions from fans. Also cool to see that because we're now on Massacre, people can buy our record in big markets like Media Markt or Saturn. A few songs, as “Mad…” or “Hell…” we've been playing for almost 2 years live already.

“Massive Human Failure” also marks a step in the band’s career by signing with the German Massacre Records, with the last albums released via the Spanish Xtreem Music. Did you feel that it was the right time to change scenery? How do you feel about this move to Massacre Records, is this considered yet another goal scored?

Dieter: We had a contract with Xtreem for 2 albums, but we also wanted to try a different label. We had a great time with Dave and he did a lot for us. We wanted to put our focus more on the German market. We played with Memoriam in Germany, we played Summerbreeze, and those were all great experiences. So our main focus was to get a deal with a German label.

Though the larger part of your albums are a picture of fictional anger at its prime, “Massive Human Failure” appears to be taking a step forward, followed by a long trail of dismay. Where do you think that mankind especially failed in its ways to become advanced and ongoing in its evolutionary process?

Stefan: I think we lost the connection with nature, we don’t know our habitat anymore. So we forget that underneath we are still mammals.

Do you think that the change will come when we, as people, will reshape our communication with each other, and then elevate to societies, countries etc.? Is there a hope for a change on your part? Does “Massive Human Failure”, with its loathing of the situation, offer that way out, making a failure to success?

Stefan: The last song of the album is a bit of an answer to that. And now with the Covid-19 virus I hope our politicians have enough courage to change that; The inescapable failure of a society built upon growth and its destruction of the earth's living systems are the overwhelming facts of our existence at this point; It challenges us to re-think about our society.

How does this massive failure find you in person? Other than historical events that showed signs, have you witnessed in person the real human debacle?

Stefan: There is definitely a pressure in a lot of work environments, everything has to be faster, better, cheaper,.. and an unfavorable work-life balance negatively impacts our lives.

Other than itself, what do you think in mankind’s legacy is its foremost enemy?

Stefan: It's an urge to make progress in technology. At one-point technology will turn against us. See movie’s like the Matrix, Terminator, or the lyrics of Fear Factory

For a Technical Death Metal, “Massive Human Failure” only appears expected, yet quite frankly, it twists and it turns, showing ambition, going beyond regularity. Certainly one of the main reasons why I turned out to be an interesting album. How do you perceive the ways Fractured Insanity developed musically while the album was in the making?

Dieter: “Massive Human Failure” is our 4th full album, and we see a lot of differences between all our albums, except for the last 2 albums. “Massive…” and “Man Made Hell” were written with the same 4 people. The first 2 albums were different line ups. Our first album “When Mankind Becomes Diseased” was a fast and brutal record, influenced by Hate Eternal, Suffocation and the likes. For the second album “Mass Awakeless” we wanted to go as technical as possible. We were very much into Necrophagist, and you hear that on the record. “Massive…” is more in the line with “Man Made Hell”, it has the same vibe and almost the same influences. We wanted to get less technical, less brutal, but still very heavy and more emotional. More controlled anger.

Do you think that part of the reason for the band’s musical soul searching within “Massive Human Failure” was thanks to the gap between releases, which you have been maintaining more or less?

Dieter: Well, the gap between “Man…” and “Massive…” could have been less big, if we had found a label sooner. By the end of 2018 the whole record was finished, but we were still negotiating with labels, and the release date got a few setbacks for various reasons. On the other hand, we are not the kind of band that will release every year another album. We take our time, we have to be all sure with the songs. If one of us doesn't like a riff or song, it will not be on the album. We also work very hard to get our songs finished. For this album we wrote 9 songs in 2 years, and that was the best we could do in that period. We never write like 20 songs and choose the 10 best out of them.

Were there ideas that fell short to become part of the album that when you think about them, you feel a sort of a target miss?

Dieter: We always have some 'left-over' riffs that we didn't use on the record. We will listen to them again, and they might give us inspiration for the next  album.

What is your appreciation of the blazing soloing action going on in some of the songs? I believe that these crunchies are a sure booster, and to be honest, I would love some more in future albums.

Stefan: I love them, if it fits in the song, there will be solos

How can you describe the songwriting process of this album? What have you learned due to past experience and how did those lessons learned while writing the songs for this album?

Dieter: Our writing process has been the same as in the beginning. We all write riffs at home, bring them to rehearsal and show them to the others. If we like it, we learn them, search for a drum pattern, and record the riff. Then we search for other riffs that fit with the previous one, and try to make a song out of them. Sometimes we write a song in 1 rehearsal. Sometimes it takes more than a year to finish a song. What feels great today, might sound horrible tomorrow. We also work on different songs at the same time. We most of the time have files with riffs that we can listen to again and again to find inspiration if nothing comes up.

Ex-Bolt Thrower / Memoriam’s vocalist, mr. Karl Willetts, joined Stefan for a deathly duet on “Hell Of No Man’s Land”. How did this contact come to be with Willetts? Were you aiming for this style of vocals from the beginning. How do you feel that his voice contributed for the magnitude of the song?

Dieter: In 2017, our good friend (and at that time booker) Michel told us he was going to book a few dates for Memoriam, and asked if we would be a support band. We didn't hesitate for a second, and jumped on to it. We are all big Bolt Thrower fans, and the first Memoriam record was superb. We had a great time on that weekend tour, and got to know the guys better. After that tour, we did 2 more shows with them. When we were writing the “Hell…” song, it had a very strong old school death metal feeling, and from one thing came another. Stefan asked Karl if he would like to sing a few lines on the song, and he was enthusiastic. For us it's surreal that one of the most prominent voices of death metal is on our album. His voice makes the song perfect for us.

The self-titled song, “Massive Human Failure”, is one of the album’s true meanings of chaos. One can actually lose himself within the darkened, somewhat scary, atmosphere of the song. What can you tell me about it? What particularly inspired you to write it?

Stefan: As we grow, our music grows, it comes very natural; we bring our ideas together and decide what feelings we want to create . When the instrumental part of the song is finished, I start writing the lyrics. It’s the music that inspires me and of course what bothers me in life, it’s a great way to let out all of the anger, frustration and fears.

Which of the album’s tracks became the one that grabs you by the throat, never letting go? Please elaborate on your pick. I know that it is a tough one.

Dieter: My personal favorite is “Panic Abuser”. The song was written with a few left-over riffs that we didn't use in other songs. It was one of the last songs we wrote for the record, and we wanted it to be so fast and so brutal. I'm also very satisfied with the solo I wrote for this song.

Stefan: The same for me: this song is so dark; it awakens the devil in me

How do you see Fractured Insanity going forward in the next couple of years? How do you see “Massive Human Failure” as part of a vast market of albums, which aren’t that far from this one?

Stefan : Well, we have a few ideas for 2 full albums and an EP. We will keep searching what our boundaries are within death metal, so we will deliver good and various albums. I hope we can make the listener think about life with our music (album) and give him a good time, support and some comfort. Music can be a healer in many ways. Musically wise I think you can compare the latest album of  “Blasphemer” to ours.

What do you think are the band’s main challenges for survival in this vast market of the present?

Stefan: Perseverance, keep up the hard work and having fun is crucial to success.

Where will the band be seen supporting the new album? Are there shows, or tours, scheduled for 2020?

Stefan: With covid-19 it’s difficult to predict, but we have some good prospects for some concerts in The Netherlands, Germany and France; If a promoter is interested in working with us, do not hesitate to contact us.

Guys, loads of thanks for the time for this interview. You have me interested to find out more about the band and its journey. Thank you. Cheers.

Thank you!!



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Edited 06 October 2022

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