History has proved that every time a prevailing culture grows stagnant, a new artistic uprising takes place in order to wash away the past and look toward the future. For the past seven years Mukilteo, Washington’s own The Fall Of Troy has been ignoring fleeting musical and fashion trends as its members have embarked on a quest to cultivate their own unique brand of progressive rock—and that process is culminating with the release of the trio’s fourth album In The Unlikely Event (October 6, 2009/Equal Vision). Cinematic in scope and vision, In The Unlikely Event sees the band expanding its sound in every sense of the phrase: the heavy songs are bone-crushing, the melodic passages are instantly memorable and, most importantly, the avant-garde experimentation doesn’t overshadow the music’s inherent accessibility. In other words, get ready because with In The Unlikely Event, The Fall Of Troy hasn’t only reinvented itself, but the band is also hoping to help alter the current musical climate in the process.
“I want to be part of another revolution,” explains The Fall Of Troy’s guitarist/vocalist Thomas Erak. “I want to see the good bands in this world come together and shift things again. We need another Nirvana, we need another Rage Against The Machine, we need another Bad Brains and At The Drive-In, you know?” While Erak is quick to point out that he’s not equating his own band with these aforementioned acts, you can hear all of their influences on In The Unlikely Event. One catalyst for Erak’s enthusiasm is the fact that the album is the first The Fall Of Troy recording with new bassist Frank Ene. “Thomas and Andrew were very welcoming of my input,” explains Ene. “The recording process was a very organic experience; a plethora of ideas were floating about and I feel like we really captured some great stuff.” Forsman confirms the new bassist’s sentiment, adding “the formula this time around was for Frank and I to lay down the structure and then Thomas kind of painted over it, so I’m really excited with how it came out.”
Recorded with Terry Date (Deftones, Pantera) in Seattle, Washington, In The Unlikely Event was the band’s first experience working with a seasoned producer, and the act insists it had a marked effect on the end result. “Terry provided a relaxing atmosphere for us to work in,” Ene says when asked what the studio setting was like. “He’s a master at what he does and I am very grateful for the time we had in the studio. He was very good at bringing out the best in us,” he continues, “and he definitely gave us advice and made suggestions that turned out to be really beneficial for these songs.”
The result is an album that unquestionably sounds like The Fall Of Troy, but could also cross into countless other scenes both inside and outside the punk subgenre. In fact, the opener “Panic Attack” (which was written about an actual breakdown Erak suffered in the studio) is a perfect example of the way the band is able to seamlessly switch from melodic passages to head-bang worthy metal-inflected riffs and still keep the structure unique and cohesive. “We’re still striving for perfection and I think if you feel like you’ve already achieved that you shouldn’t make music anymore,” Erak responds when asked where the band found the creative inspiration for the songs on In The Unlikely Event, adding, “we’re never going to stop moving forward.” Correspondingly, the disc spans the complete sonic spectrum from the infectious rockers like “Single” to the Black Flag-influenced vitriol of “Straight-Jacket Keelhauled,” all while managing to retain the band’s rich sense of identity.
Another huge difference on In The Unlikely Event are Erak’s vocals, which see the virtuosic guitar player expanding his range in order to bring these songs to a new level both sonically and lyrically. “Obviously the first thing people are going to talk about is that In The Unlikely Event isn’t as abrasive and screamy as our other albums,” Erak acknowledges. “We’re always going to have those elements in our music, but at this point, we want to create songs that mean something to people for more than five minutes… what about five years or five decades?” While most bands are content fitting into a preconceived subgenre, The Fall Of Troy have prided themselves on the fact that they’re musical outsiders that don’t have any rigid rules when it comes to creating their art—and the fact that they’ve been embraced on tours alongside everyone from Deftones to Coheed And Cambria is tangible proof of that. “I wouldn’t ever want to be pigeonholed into anything,” Erak explains. “We live up to our own expectations, we write our own music and no matter what we do it will always sound like The Fall Of Troy.”
Ultimately, whether the band is reveling in the impossibly catchy chorus of “Empty The Clip, The King Has Been Slain, Long Live The Queen” or the sweetly syncopated refrain of “Nature Vs. Nurture,” In The Unlikely Event inherently sounds like The Fall Of Troy simply because every song is so forward-thinking and innovative. While many of the band’s peers are chasing success, the members of The Fall Of Troy are more concerned with creating honest and lasting art—and if the initial reaction to In The Unlikely Event is any indication, those two facts aren’t mutually exclusive. “I think this time it’s going to take more than one band to catalyze another musical revolution,” Erak explains. “The Beatles are gone and Hendrix isn’t going to happen again,” he summarizes. “I think it’s going to take a group of musicians and performers coming together in order to bring real art back to mainstream music, movies, literature and art,” he continues. “It’s going to take a lot of people to do it, but I truly believe that it will happen in my lifetime and I want to be a part of it.”