What is the full band line-up, who sings and who plays which instrument?
Chris Simpson – lead vocals and rhythm guitars
Alex Bishop – lead guitars and backing vocals
Jade McKenna – keyboards
John Roughley – bass guitar
Danny Kelly – drums
How and when did the band form?
Forlorn Hope came into being in the Winter of 2017. The five of us were playing in a casual covers project for a bit of fun when Danny suggested we do something original.
Chris, an avid military history fan, had had the idea for Forlorn Hope several years earlier and had even penned the beginnings of a few songs with Alex. Following Danny’s suggestion, he pitched the idea to the group; a band blending power metal and traditional heavy metal, devoted to the theme of military history and with a strong commitment to research and accuracy but without compromising on the catchiness and accessibility of the music.
The group took little convincing. Everyone was on board and we immediately got to work to write the debut album and make this project a reality.
When and how did the band really start gelling and solidifying?
Immediately. We had been close friends and intermittent band-mates for years before the five of us came together to play covers and we knew after a few months that we had something special on our hands. There was no friction, no clash of egoes or direction and we always had fun. It was that that prompted Danny to suggest that we take on an original music project and it’s what keeps Forlorn Hope going to this day.
Who are your musical influences?
Sabaton are definitely our most significant influence. They’re outstanding songwriters and have proved what an appetite there is out there for historical heavy metal. We certainly don’t seek to mimic them – we have a distinct sound and tend to focus on different periods in history – but it’s fair to say without Sabaton there would be no Forlorn Hope.
Musically we take a lot of influence from the classics like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, but we also draw on contemporary power metal acts like Kamelot, Powerwolf, Avantasia and, of course, Sabaton.
Special mention should also go to Iced Earth’s 2004 historical concept album ‘The Glorious Burden’. The detail and passion for history that clearly went into their concept piece about the Battle of Gettysburg is something that Chris always seeks to emulate in his lyrics.
Where did the name of the band come from?
The band name comes from siege warfare in the Napoleonic era, which was a bloody business. To capture a fortress, an army first had to spend weeks battering its walls with artillery until a section collapsed, creating a “breach”. The breach then had to be stormed, usually under cover of darkness, but this was fraught with danger.
The defenders would be well prepared for an attack. Every available gun would be trained on the breach and all manner of traps and obstacles would be laid to kill or disable attacking troops. Attacking such a position was a sobering prospect for even the bravest soldier, but it had to be done. The question was; who would go first?
A select group of men were given this task. Unenviable as it might seem, there was never any shortage of volunteers. Though they faced almost certain death, widespread renown and guaranteed promotion awaited them if they survived.
These brave few who risked all for glory on a fatal roll of the dice were known as the Forlorn Hope.
How far back does your history with each other (the band members) extend? Are you friends from school or any family relations?
Danny and John are the oldest friends in the band and have played in a couple of bands together before this one, most notably a metalcore act called Ensorrowed which formed in 2010 at about the same time that Chris and Alex first met in high school.
Chris went on to meet the Ensorrowed boys through the local metal scene while at university in Liverpool. When Ensorrowed split up, Danny and Chris founded Cathar; a short-lived symphonic metal project. Chris brought in Alex as Cathar’s guitarist and Jade joined the band as keyboard player.
Cathar came to an end in 2015. Danny and Jade went on to form a new band, Ex Morte Vita, with a number of other local musicians and Chris and Alex retreated to focus on solo work and the occasional joint writing session which would form the bedrock of Forlorn Hope’s early material.
Then in 2017, after time had been called on Ex Morte Vita, the four ex Cathar members reunited to play covers for a bit of fun and brought in John to play bass. Our chemistry was obvious, prompting Danny to suggest that we take on something more serious and original. Thus was Forlorn Hope born.
In your opinion, how is your band different from all the other bands out there?
Many metal bands write songs about historical events, but none bring the same passion for their subject matter and dedication to well-researched, accurate storytelling as we do while still maintaining an uncompromising commitment to catchy, accessible songwriting.
If a deaf person were to ask you to describe the sound of your music, how would you describe it?
A distinctive blend of traditional and power metal. Classic, heavy metal guitars and majestic keyboards combine with powerful clean vocals and vivid, meticulously researched lyrics to tell, through music, some of the most dramatic stories in military history with the scale and intensity they deserve.
Do you have a tour on the horizon?
We will be touring extensively to promote the new album:
26/07/19 – The Royal Standard, Sheffield
27/07/19 – EBGBs, Liverpool – official album launch party
30/07/19 – Archies Bar, Prestatyn
03/08/19 – The Boulevard, Wigan
23/08/19 – Blossoms, Stockport
We also have the following festival appearances lined up:
28/09/19 – Power Metal Quest Festival 2019, Birmingham
17/11/19 – Ragnarök Metal Fest 2019, Norwich
22/02/20 – Pentre Fest 2020, Pentre
Where can we find your social media sites?
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/forlornhopeband/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/ForlornHopeBand
Bandcamp – https://officialforlornhope.bandcamp.com/
Official website – https://forlornhope.uk/