First Posted: 9/2/2013
Back in 2008, Beyond Fallen started taking some time off, only occasionally playing live and writing music together, but by 2013, the Wilkes-Barre metal group was ready for a full force attack in the form of a new album, “Machines of Corruption,” recorded locally at SI Studios.
Celebrating 10 years since they officially formed, the band will be joined by The Curse of Sorrow, Threatpoint, and Cause of Affliction at Diane’s Deli (206 S. Main St, Pittston) for a CD release show on Saturday, Sept. 7. The Weekender talked with bassist Chuck Donahue and guitarist Steve Jasuilewicz about their triumphant return and what metalheads can expect when they hear this follow-up to “Mindfire.”
THE WEEKENDER: How did Beyond Fallen first get together?
STEVE JASUILEWICZ: I actually started forming the band as far back as 2000. I just wanted to play some metal. In ’03, (singer) Joe Karavis joined the band. From that point on, we grew as a band, developed great chemistry, and started turning out some great music. We have had a few lineup changes over the years, but the core of the band always remained intact. Fans will hear that in the new music it still sounds like Beyond Fallen.
W: Did you always know that Beyond Fallen would be back someday?
CHUCK DONAHUE: No. We were really unsure whether it was going to happen or not. We always kept that little grain in the back of our heads saying, “Never say never,” but I had always pretty much in forefront said, “This is done.” Over the course of the break, I was actually in another band and that had kind of folded as well. I was exploring other musical options at the time, but at the time that they gave me the call and said, “Hey, we’re going to do this again,” I wasn’t doing anything. I didn’t have another project going. I was just super, super excited. We did really, really great things in the past and we want to relive that.
W: How did you decide on and develop the band’s sound?
CD: We really didn’t come together and decide on the band’s sound; it’s just what kind of fell together when we started writing music. It’s just what sounded good.
We’re very heavily influenced by bands like Iron Maiden and Iced Earth, Megadeth – you know, your basic standard, what people like to call classic heavy metal. A lot of thrash, a little bit of doom, a little bit of Black Sabbath in there.
SJ: We knew we wanted to be a heavy band, but we never said we want to sound like this band or that band. We wanted to sound like Beyond Fallen. That being said, we never limited ourselves to one style of metal music. That can be heard on any of our recordings. There are elements of traditional, power, and thrash metal, to name a few.
W: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
CD: Really, a lot of it starts with our guitar player, Steve. We have have a nickname for him – we call him “Riff-enstein” because he’s like a machine. He just comes up with all these riffs all the time. He’ll come in and start playing something and it just kind of spawns from that.
SJ: I don’t think there is any one thing that I can say inspires me to write. It could range from me just having a bad day and using my guitar to release some stress to a cool scene in a movie that spurs an idea.
W: How did “Machines of Corruption” come together?
CD: We had taken a break for a couple of years. We had a couple of members that were busy building families. We had one member that had gone through some health issues… When everybody got their stuff together, we decided to get back together early this year. We hadn’t put anything out in about six years, so we figured it’s really time to really start pushing and writing.
W: What was the writing and recording process like at SI Studios?
SJ: The writing can get stressful at times. It’s kind of like doing a puzzle. We all bring our pieces in and dump them on the table and start putting things together from there. As far as SI Studios, I don’t think you could find a better place to record. (Chief Engineer Joe) Wiggy (Wegleski) and (owner) Tom Borthwick are great guys, and it is a very comfortable environment. There’s no pressure and you’re never rushed.
W: How has the group changed over the years?
CD: This CD has gotten a little bit more technical, a little bit more progressive. It’s a little less straightforward. That’s the biggest change in the music.
We just got a new drummer in April. The lead guitar player that we have, he was fairly new to the band right before we took a break; we only had maybe a year under our belts with him before we took that break, so we had never really written anything with him yet, so those two band members really had an influence on where the style of music changed.
W: What do you hope listeners take away from this new record?
CD: I hope they take away more of an acceptance for metal. There’s a lot of people out there that really just want to listen to what’s force-fed to them by corporate radio and whatnot. We just like to bring metal to the masses… I personally think it’s a lot more accessible than some of the stuff that is out there. It’s not ear-grating; it’s not really screamy and bangy like some of the stuff that is out there.
SJ: Some will like it, some won’t – you can’t please everyone. Like it or not, I hope everyone will at least appreciate the level of talent in the band.
W: There seems to be a pretty healthy metal scene in the area. What have your shows been like lately?
SJ: We have been doing shows with The Curse of Sorrow, Threatpoint, Cause of Affliction, and Prosody, to name a few… Live shows have been great. Good turnout. The local fans are great; they always come out to support.
The biggest problem now is the lack of venues in the area. As far as writing music and continuing, you just have to have a love for what you’re doing and keep it fun in the meantime.
CD: We’ve only played a handful of shows since we’ve been back in April… The response since we’ve been back has been really, really good. We’ve had a great turnout for most of our shows, and we’ve just had a really good time with it, so we’re going to try to keep the ball rolling.
W: What was it like playing the Headbangers Open Air Festival in Germany back in 2007?
SJ: It was fantastic; we had a great time. I really hope we get another opportunity to do it again.
CD: That was intense. That was a really, really great time – probably the best time of my life. We had just a killer, killer trip over there. The response was just amazing. To go 3,500 miles across the ocean and have people at a meet and greet table at the festival that we played – there were people that had actually gone on to the website and printed out pictures and came up to the meet and greet table and were wanting us to sign. We’re from a completely different country. We didn’t know what was going to go on. We were treated like absolute rock stars over there.
W: What do you guys have planned for this upcoming CD release show at Diane’s Deli?
CD: We’re just going to put on a great show. We’re going to play the entire new CD along with selections from all of our other discs. We have a couple of other great bands on the show.
SJ: It’s going to be a hell of a show, but people will just have to come out and see for themselves.
W: What are you most looking forward to about the show?
SJ: Finally getting some new material out there. It’s been a few years since we released anything new.
CD: Just getting out there and playing the stuff live finally. We’ve been bottled up in the practice room and the studio playing this stuff for months and months now. To be able to get out there and play it live in front of an audience is going to be great.
If you’re a Beyond Fallen fan, you know it’s Beyond Fallen, but you know there’s something different about it.