Crimson Falls
Interview with: Crimson Falls' guitarist Kristof Damen

Belgium seems to be turning into a serious melting pot for extreme metal, with such bands as Aborted leading the scene. Another strong newcomer is Crimson Falls, a band combining the aggression of death metal with metalcore precision and attitude. With a debut album out, the band is set to take the rest of Europe by storm. We spoke with Kristof, the band's guitarist :

Hey Kristof, let's start with what the band is doing these days, what kind of touring is planned for you?
Hello Alon! We’re currently very busy with the promotion of our brand new album "The True Face Of Human Nature". We’re also playing a lot of shows and we keep on rehearsing and writing new songs. There are always things that have to be done in the band so we get our time nicely filled. As far as touring goes we want to play live as much as possible and most of all in regions we haven’t played before. In Belgium this is going quite good for us, so our biggest aim for 2007 is getting our hands on more shows in Holland, Germany, Luxemburg, France… Holland is now already going great for us and we are currently planning a small tour in Germany with Feast For The Crows and The Dying. We’ll try to do some more weekend tours later this year as well.

2006 saw the release of your debut album – "The True Face Of Human Nature" – how happy are you with it in hindsight?
We are very happy with the way "The True Face Of Human Nature" came out. I’m 100% sure we did the very best we could with this album at this moment. So a few months after completing the production of "TTFOHN" we’re still very happy with the result and even proud of what we achieved. I think we've made a huge improvement in every possible way, and the experience we gained opened new perspectives for the future. The reactions of public and press have been awesome so far, which is great for us of course, after all the hard work we put in the album.

What is the meaning of its title?
Right before we entered the studio, we started thinking about an appropriate title for our new CD. This proved to be not as easy as we first expected, as it took us quite some time to find the title we were looking for. In the end we decided to look back at our lyrics and search for a red thread through the songs. Every lyric appeared to deal with humanity and the acts of human beings. Some songs deal with the dark side of man such as terrorism ("Martyr vs. Terrorist’) & mobbing ("Book Of Memories"), while other songs like "Erase All Fear" and "Four Slaves, Four Struggles" focus on the good that can be found in every person, like self-confidence, mankind’s struggle for freedom and so on. So we think there is good and bad in everyone. "The True Face Of Human Nature" isn’t only dark and evil, but also good and positive. The title track of the new album also deals with this ambiguity; this contradiction between good and bad in mankind. This song makes the connection between all the different songs clear at the end of the CD.

Does it relate to the (rather gruesome) cover art?
The cover of "The True Face Of Human Nature" was designed by Svencho (Avernus Studio). It indeed reflects the album title and the red thread through the lyrics I mentioned above. It shows a person who is attached to a lot of computers which show the dark side of human nature’s true face on their screens: soldiers, death row, a child rapist… The person attached to the computers can’t cope with it anymore and collapses under the negative input he receives from the computers. The negative side of human nature’s true face is too much for him.

What does the song "Martyr VS Terrorist" speaks of?
It deals with the difference in culture, conviction, point of view and perception that our ‘Western’ culture and Muslim extremists have on ‘terrorism’. Suicide terrorists consider themselves to be martyrs, dying for their beliefs. But actually they’re nothing more than killers and murderers taking innocent lives. There’s never a legitimate reason for a person to be a suicide bomber.

I understand that Aborted's Sven was a guest on the album, how did you get him in it?
Of course we knew Sven some time from his bands Aborted and Leng Tch'e and we liked his grunting and screaming a lot! We came in touch with him some time ago when we asked him to build our website for his designing agency Dirge Design (now Avernus Studios). We were very happy with the job he did so we also asked him to design the artwork for our debut MCD "Ruins 2K5". The artwork for the new CD is designed by Sven as well. To get all these artwork jobs done, we did a lot of email and chat sessions with him which led to a very good contact between us, so we asked Sven to record some guest vocals for "Controle Alt Delete", and he sure did an awesome job!

The sound in the album is very strong, how did achieve it?
Well, first of all thank you for the compliment! We went to the CCR in Zulte, Belgium to record the album together with Kris Belaen. CCR can be considered as the best metal-studio in Belgium and even one of the better in Europe. Other bands that recorded there include Aborted, In Quest, Scarve and Leng Tch'e. Kris is a very talented producer and he managed to get the best out of us during the recordings. Speaking for the guitar-recordings we started from our own equipment in the studio; our own guitars, cabs and amplifiers. We always got good comments on our live sound so we thought it would be stupid not to start from that. From that starting point on, we let Kris Belaen from the CCR Studio use and display his knowledge and talent. He added some equipment from his studio (amplifiers, cabs) and used some techniques to make it all come through as brutal and ‘broad’ as possible.

Your music combines several metallic genres - from metalcore, to melodic death, to neo-thrash - what were your main influences when you started out?
When we started out with the band we already blended different influences in our music. Back then it was in the first place a mixture of Swedish melodic death metal (At The Gates, Amon Amarth…), our metalcore roots and some classic metal bands like Bolt Thrower and Morbid Angel. These influences are still present in our music today together with some other influences that entered our music over the years. We started adding more rhythmic passages in our music as well for instance, and it all became more brutal and more varied.

The metal scene in Belgium seems to be thriving these last few years, what kind of a scene do you have there now?
Yes indeed, there are a lot of talented bands in Belgium that deserve to be recognized outside Belgium as well. Some kick-ass Belgian bands like Aborted, In-Quest and Leng Tch'e have already achieved this I guess. Underneath this top of the scene a lot of talent is coming up. It’s very interesting lately and it is growing a lot for the last 3 or 4 years. Every year new bands are formed and there is a lot of quality involved. For a small land like Belgium we can’t complain at all, every weekend there are numerous gigs throughout the whole country. Sometimes it is even hard to choose to which gig you want to go.

How did the band start out?
We started the band back in 2002. Sigi (drums), Ringo (guitars) & me (Kristof, guitars) are in Crimson Falls since the very beginning. A few months later we found a singer (Filip) and bass player (Maarten) with whom we played our first live shows in spring 2003. After these first shows, we felt that Filip wasn’t the right singer for us so we decided to go on without him. It took us a long time to find a new singer, in 2004 we came across Wim and we started playing shows again in august 2004. We had a very steady line-up for quite some time, until June 2006 when Maarten told us he wanted to leave the band because he had lost his motivation and wanted more time to do other things in his life. For a while we had to go on with interim bass players, we had our friends Sven Janssens (Unleash The Fury, ex-Axamenta) & Kristof Taveirne (Spoil Engine) helping us out; Sven recorded the bass on our new album, while Kristof filled in the empty spot for the live shows - Of course we are still very grateful for what they did for us. Unleash The Fury and Spoil Engine are two awesome bands so make sure to check them out as well! After some time we were very happy to find a permanent replacement in Tom Trancez (ex-I Witness), so now we are back at full force!

Where did you play before it?
All members of Crimson Falls played in other bands before. I was in Unbound NC and Amain, two metalcore bands. Our vocalist used to sing in Legion, and Sigi (drums) and Ringo (guitar) already played together in Outrage and Reller. Tom, our new bass player, was already in a lot of bands like I Witness, Serial Butcher and Invictrius, to name a few.

It seems this release did plenty for the band, the amount of reviews it got is double than what "Ruins 2K5" got, did you feel the change in awareness of the band because of it?
Yes, we feel like more and more people are getting to know Crimson Falls and are interested in the band. Thanks to the label we received a lot more reviews then we did for "The True Face Of Human Nature". But we also notice this increasing interest in Crimson Falls in other things, we receive a lot of "friends' requests" on our myspace page for instance, and also the amount of show offers went straight up. We also did a lot of interviews to promote the new album. All of these things add up to each other and as a result of this our band's name is getting more and more spread.

A personal question - in your profile, you state "Belgian Frites" as one of your favorite foods, what is that?
"Belgian Frites" is my favorite food indeed. Most of the time people call it French Frites, but that is nothing compared to the real deal; the Belgian ones! Frites are fried pieces of potatoes and its typical food for our country.

Did you get to meet or play with any Israeli bands?
No, we haven’t had the opportunity to play with Israeli bands yet. I do know a few bands from your country by name. Betzefer for instance, they recorded in the same studio as we did for "The True Face Of Human Nature". Distorted recently played in Belgium on the Aborted CD-release show and I just got to know Whorecore, who have Svencho form Aborted as one of their singers. So it seems the Israeli scene is thriving as well!

What's next for the band? Where do you view yourselves going in the next few years?
Hard to say of course where the band is going to end up in a few years time. We just try to take things step by step and keep on improving. Right now we are concentrating on playing live and on writing new songs. This should result in a new album coming your way in 2008 or 2009, so watch out for that!

Thanks for the interview!

Thanks a lot for the kind and elaborate interview; we expect nothing less elaborate, but a lot less kind, from your next album!

Alon Miasnikov
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