Breda, The Netherlands’ THE FIFTH ALLIANCE formed back in 2006 as a result of their involvement in heavy sounds inspired by artists like BOTCH, CONVERGE, CULT OF LUNA, or ISIS. The band self-released their debut EP “Fear Consumption” in 2007. Two years later they came back with another mini-album. “Reflections On Consciousness” was released through Crossfirecult Records. The band’s debut full length “Unrevealed Secrets Of Ruin” will be officially out on April 5th through Demons Run Amok.
The new outing delivers massive, sludge and doom infested hardcore merged into seven epic tracks, ranging from slow, gut wrenching riffing, claustrophobic screaming by vocalist Silvia, to hectic, lightning fast blasts. I hooked up with the band to discuss the album and find out what it deals with.
Hello hello! I’m very pleased to have you here, guys. What’s up? How have you been lately?
Hey, how are you? Thanks for having us! We’re doing quite good right now, we’ve been crazy busy in the last few months, working on our debut album, which will be officially out on April 5th on Demons Run Amok. First reviews are coming in and the reactions until now are awesome, so were happy!
Oh yeah. “Unrevealed Secrets Of Ruin” is almost here. Tell me, how do you feel right before the big premiere? [smiles]
We’re very excited about releasing our new album! It’s been since 2009, that we’ve put out new material, so yes.. we’re looking forward to all that and especially playing those new tracks live. Also because we changed quite a bit over time and had a lot of changes in line-up and band members coming and going, it’s great to see that it all made us stronger and therefore developed as a band. And because it’s been a while since our last release in 2009 and we changed as a band and have new influences crawling into our music over time, it kinda feels like we’re starting like a new band and we’re eager to get out there. But since we all have daytime jobs, it’s all in good fun, really.
Exactly what line-up changes have you gone through? How did they impact your sound?
During the years, Silvia (vocals), Ivo (guitar) en myself (guitar) have been around from the very start of The Fifth Alliance, but there have been quite a few line-up changes during the years and with every old member going away and new member coming, it always brings in some influences and leaves a mark on the band, be it by musical preference of that particular band member or playing style or typical skills, but that’s all good and we’re very much open for those influences and we don’t stick to one kind of music because we started out as ‘that kind of band’. At first we started out as a chaotic hardcore band but we’ve always been into sludge, doom an post metal and after a while it just developed, as you can hear on our album which ranges from an opening track like ‘Hollow’ which is 10+ minutes of sludge/post metal to tracks like ‘Standing Tall’ and that’s all doomy hardcore with fast outbursts. Basically, we’re just playing music, we love, really. Nothing more, nothing less.
Do you have a lead composer in your camp?
No, not really. I think a lot of bands work like this, when the writing process starts off with a basic idea, like a guitar riff or something, which eventually leads to a whole song. In our case, most of the time, it’s a guitar riff, in some way worked out by that person, which is been brought to rehearsal and we go from there. But nothing is really set as it is and lots of ideas come from just getting together and making music and every member has their say in that particular song. But most of our lyrics are being written by Silvia.
Looking back at 2007’s “Fear Consumption” and 2009’s “Reflections On Consciousness”, how do you feel about those records at the moment.
With mixed emotions. I haven’t really listened to any of those tracks in a while and looking back on production and how they sound.. it could have been a lot better, but hey.. we had loads of fun playing those tracks and it’s just who we were back then and our first experiences as a band. And those records were done in a very short time frame and with Unrevealed Secrets Of Ruin, we took our time to get everything right the way we wanted it to be and it paid off. But maybe on occasion, we’ll be playing some tracks from those two records, just for the fun of it!
Alright, you mentioned Silvia’s lyrics. Lyrics-wise, what subjects do you focus on this time?
We all come from a hardcore/metal background and one of the things, that motivated us to start a band, was a certain lack of bands, who actually had something to say. For me, hardcore has always been about having a message and not taking everything for granted. Nowadays, lots of bands, just don’t have a message or anything to say, really. Silvia writes most of our lyrics and writes them from our perspective, but also her own personal view and there are some quite personal lyrics as well, which she wrote about things she went through, but those could apply to most of us. But since we are all individuals and, for example ranging from vegans to carnivores in one band, you can imagine, that we all have different points of view on certain matters, which should translate in lyrics everyone can relate to. But our lyrics on ‘Unrevealed Secrets Of Ruin’ deal with subjects like blind consumption and the lack of consideration in peoples choices and therefore not seeing the impact on earth, human- or animal welfare, and basically the overall self-destructive nature of man, also issues like isolation, loss, organized religion and acts being justified in the name of.. just to point out a few of our lighter topics [laughs].
What are you most proud of regarding your new album?
I think, we are most proud of how this album sounds and feels like. Like I said before, we’ve put way more effort in production and recording the album, but also took way more time in writing those songs and getting them done right. For us, it’s a huge step forward since our previous outputs and we’re very happy with the outcome and we hope people will enjoy it.
What feedback have you already got after premiering new tunes?
Comments have been awesome so far. We put our title track online a while ago and from there on we got great responses. Some zines and websites have already reviewed the whole album and we’re very pleased to hear how much everyone likes the album. A thing that comes back in reviews is Silvia’s vocals and some reviewers already classified her as one of the best female vocalists in this genre. So yeah, that’s a huge compliment of course and we’re very happy with everyone’s comments.
Oh, by the way, what zines do you know/read and recommend?
Well there’s a local webzine called SWNK – Some Will Never Know which I check quite often for reviews and local shows and I think Cvlt Nation is awesome because they have a lot of variety in articles, they have on their website, mostly underground obscure stuff, from extreme black metal stuff to skate videos to all the latest battle pants fashion to whatever… just great stuff to read. And IDIOTEQ is nice for reading interviews of course [smiles].
Ha! You flunky! [laughs]
And no printed zines to spread the word about? Come on! Is this form of writing and reporting really going to hell?
Ow, you mean like old school printed matter? Uhm.., yes! I like Rock-A-Rolla from the UK, but thats a fancy looking magazine and I dont know if that counts as being a zine, because its not a xerox-ed black and white zine with shitty photos… nevertheless, good reading material.
Ok, so for the record [smiles] you don’t know any local DIY printed zines? [smiles]
I’m sorry for digging, but it kind of defines your local scene, right?
No worries, but maybe you’re just asking the wrong guy here and I just don’t know, really [smiles].
I used to pick up zines at shows and I know that there were quite a few some time ago but I don’t really think any of those local printed zines are still around because it all shifted to the internet.
Local zines like Value Of Strength and SWNK zine are gone for sure.
Okay, now tell me. What’s the story behind your cooperation with Demons Run Amok?
Yeah.. we were looking for a label for this release and we’ve been in contact with quite a few labels, who were interested and one of them was Demons Run Amok, which we knew for their releases for dutch bands like ALL FOR NOTHING and NEW MORALITY, but also bands as HIEROPHANT, THE SETUP, TRAPPED UNDER ICE.., so we were very excited and pleased that they wanted to release our album. And the guys at Demons Run Amok are all about DIY and work their asses off with every release, so they’ll do good.
How important is DIY from your perspective? Wouldn’t you like to go bigger and outsource some of your activities for professionals?
I think, it’s something we all should support because it’s obviously related to the whole hardcore/punk movement and I still believe in those ideas. We still do lots of things ourselves like artwork for flyers, posters and stuff and our first releases were DIY and we even considered of self-releasing our new album, but your reach of getting your album distributed are more limited, when you do everything yourself, instead of being with a label. Since Demons Run Amok have that distribution network for years, we decided to release it through them, which wasn’t a difficult decision by the way.
How is Breda’s independent music scene going these days?
Breda’s scene is rather small, especially for punk/hardcore/metal related music. People organize shows now and then, but Breda isn’t well-known for that particular scene. But Holland’s a small country and we have lots of shows going on everywhere and within traveling distance, so it isn’t a big deal, really.
What are your favourite local hardcore-related bands?
There are only a few bands from Breda, which are quite active, (not all hardcore) bands like TARANTINO, TANK86 and HILTON DIVE, but there are tons of bands in our area, which are also definitely worth checking out like ATLANTIS, IZAH, STARVE, HERDER, TERZIJ DE HORDE, WASTED BULLET, ORTEGA, SUFFERING QUOTA, THE DARKEST RED, GRINDING HALT, THIS ROUTINE IS HELL and ALL ON BLACK.
Mmmm, fresh chow, I love it. Thanks!
How was your yesterday’s show in Eindhoven?
Yesterday’s show with I AM HERESY and HIEROPHANT was fun, great bands and great dudes. Unfortunately, not a whole lot of people came out, but that happens. We played a lot of new stuff from Unrevealed Secrets Of Ruin. Next show up is actually our album release show at a local concert hall with support from STARVE. We’re looking forward to that show.
Are you still looking for more shows? Can you tell me more about those 2 remaining dates you teased for a while ago (August 24th and October 5th)?
Sure, we’re always interested in playing more shows! But we have some more coming up besides those you mentioned, which are a festival and a club show by the way, and we might even do some touring in fall 2013 and maybe visit nice countries like Belgium, Germany, Poland…
Alright, let’s wrap it up. What’s next for the band in the coming months? What else should we know about you?
Besides playing as much shows as possible in the coming months and promoting our new album, we’ll be working on a bunch of new songs, which will probably be our heaviest and darkest until now. Hopefully those will even see the light of day later on this year.
Thanks for the interview and thanks to everyone who has helped us in any way until now.
Thanks a lot, guys! Cheers from Warsaw!