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DEAD HEROES CLUB

Neo-Prog • Ireland


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Dead Heroes Club biography
Irish outfit DEAD HEROES CLUB was formed sometime after the millenium, when Gerry McGerigal (guitars, vocals), Liam Campbell (vocals, guitars) and Mickey Gallagher (drums, percussion) decided to form a band of their own. They all had previous experience in different bands, and all of them had become tired of playing only plain mainstream-oriented pop and rock music - and all shared a passion for progressive rock from the 70's and 80's.

With an aim to form a band creating an playing adventurous music that appealed to the mind the trio went out looking for other musicians in their native Ireland that would find this vision intriguing. When discussion such a possible addition a name kept popping up in conversations - Charlie Coyle. And it soon turned out that he was interested, and besides providing the bass guitar the so far unnamed band needed he also turned out to be an accomplished keyboard player; and as such covering both instruments needed for the band to record their compositions, as they at that time had yet to find a suitable keyboard player.

Besides jamming, rehearsing and covering classic progressive rock tunes the band got busy writing material next, with Coyle and Campbell both filling in on keyboards when needed.

It didn't take them long to have an albums's worth of songs, and recording sessions in several different studios soon followed. Around this time the quartet also settled on Dead Heroes Club as a suitable band name. The choice of name also had a direct impact on the cover art of their forthcoming debut album - depicting various dead heroes of the past picked by the band members.

Just prior to the release of the band's self-titled debut in 2004 they found a keyboard player as well - in the shape of Chris Norby. He hooked up with the band, and with a full line-up in place performing their music in a live setting became viable.

various gigs was to be the main order of the day for the next few years, besides writing new material, rehearsals - and the obligatory line-up change. Coyle left the band, and new man in was Wilson Graham (bass, vocals).

In early summer 2009 Dead Heroes Club issued their second album; A Time Of Shadow, with various concerts in Ireland following to promote this latest venture.

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A Time of ShadowA Time of Shadow
PROGROCK 2009
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Everything Is ConnectedEverything Is Connected
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DEAD HEROES CLUB discography


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DEAD HEROES CLUB top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.85 | 15 ratings
Dead Heroes Club
2004
3.85 | 39 ratings
A Time of Shadow
2009
3.89 | 54 ratings
Everything is Connected
2013

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DEAD HEROES CLUB Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Everything is Connected by DEAD HEROES CLUB album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.89 | 54 ratings

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Everything is Connected
Dead Heroes Club Neo-Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars Hey, they are Irish!

Dead Heroes Club is now three albums into a fascinating prog career, perhaps undeservedly underneath the swoop of the radar, which is a sad state of affairs! Especially with this latest offering, the lads have ventured into their own personal zone, though still infused with Fish-era Marillion vibes , mostly due to the growling voice of lead singer Liam Campbell (more Chris Thompson than the Pisces man) as well as the spectacular lyrical content that simply glow fiercely when united by passion and flair (after all, they are Irish!). The biggest impression is the groove-infested material which keeps the listener on edge throughout the diverse tunes, very slickly played and delivered with stylistic gleam. The band has remained intact from the last album, the splendid 'A Time of Shadow', easily the revelation of 2009 with guitarist Gerry McGerigal showing a wide palette of tones, from Andy Summers-like riffing, tinges of Jamie West-Oram of the Fixx in his rhythm work and brief-to the point soloing, keyboardist Chris Norby colors mightily on organ, piano and synths while bassist Wilson Graham carves with the best of them. Michael Gallagher keeps time with menacing precision and deft cleverness. This is a well-oiled crew, battle hardened and driven by a common progressive vision (after all, they are Irish!). They must be amazing in a live context.

The material is way bluesier than ever before, intelligently sparse when needed and eschewing any overt symphonicism in favor of hitting the gut directly and hard (after all, they are Irish!). Case in point, the slow-burn instrumental intro on the opening track, 'The Hunger', building up pangs of yearning and sweltering saliva. Tick-tock drums, clanging guitar, swirling synthesizers and doom-laden bass conjure up images of craving urgency, sublimed by Liam's explicit delivery , shifting on a The Police-like rhythm that just blitzes ahead wildly. Bang! Tremendous 7 minute+ first impression.

'Truth' is a shorter piece that contrasts shockingly, a soft ballad gushing with a Kaleigh-like groove, unafraid to show their Marillion influences, proving once again how important the 'Script For a Jester's Tear' was to the nearly dead prog scene in 1983. Breezy, passionate, airy and highly hummable, this is a great uplifting tune, quite needed as the rest of the material here is slick but intense. Exhibit A , the majestic 10 minute bruiser 'Machine in the Garden', an assault gun riff hammered implacably by the rhythm crew, slowly settling into a stupendous bluesy groove adorned by red hot electric guitar licks and Liam's ardent vocals. 'Everything is connected' both instrumentally and lyrically, bundled into an impressive arrangement that has the hallmarks of being a classic. The chorus is anthemic and addictive but the vocoded modern bit is just super cool (I am not a big fan generally of such devices but here the subtlety is sly!) as it leads onto a platform for some intense jamming and soloing. The axe gets tortured big time, poor thing!

Some respite is needed after such a blowout and it arrives in the shape of a gentle symphonic reverie, a gorgeous piano leading the swoon. Bassist Graham ignites a dense low-end rumble that blooms into a suave lilt, Liam breathing together with the by-now captive audience and vaulting the tune into agonizing heights. 'We Breathe Together' is a cry of our confused age, where social consciousness is vibrant but still without leadership, still 'divided by tribes'. The lyrical content is inspiring and political (after all, they are Irish!), finally a band unafraid to spit out its contempt for the cynical corporatism of lies and cheats who flood the headlines by the CNN second. Another tremendous winner!

You want more controversial politics, how about 'Exit the Queen', a song that maybe perceive as a rant against the British monarch (after all, they are Irish!) but is cleverly disguised as an ode to a forgotten star of the silver screen, who plays 'one final role to sell magazines'. As a fan of innuendo and wordplay, I just go gaga over such genial material, especially within a prog context, as one cannot live in a cosmic fantasyland for ever. . Short, hard and to the point.

The cinematic 'Sale of the Century' showcases more bitterness and bile, a raw 8 minute + rail against the blatant' hypocrisy from the Ministry of Wealth', reminding the billions of blind web surfers that 'There is money in the blood we spill, there's currency in the kill'. Powerful, visionary, angry and courageous, Dead Heroes Club tackle issues that seem to be 'ostriched' by so many, as we only have Internet time for the who, the what , the where and the when but never the why! 'No more', Liam screams, 'not in my name'. Rousing, growling guitar and raging organ blasts this tirade into outer space.

The best track is saved for last, the magnificent 'Watching & Waiting Man' , a groove tune that shows off the first overt Celtic influences with a typical swirling melody (could have been done on Uilleann pipes) that conjures images of taciturn steadfastness, (after all, they are Irish!) whilst offering a semblance of a solution , as the title clearly implies.

I love smart music and Dead Heroes Club serve up some clever combinations of musical philosophy and intelligent progressive rock. There was once a man who made a career of it (Derrick Dick aka Fish) and I am happy to witness this legacy in 2013 . Brilliant album with a tremendous feel, great sound, gorgeous artwork. Fans of early Marillion, Fish and first rate neo-prog should not let this masterpiece fade into oblivion.

5 Deceased Champions Pubs

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 A Time of Shadow by DEAD HEROES CLUB album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.85 | 39 ratings

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A Time of Shadow
Dead Heroes Club Neo-Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars And to those who loudly claim that neo-prog is the weakest link in prog, here is another example of scrumptious quality to go onto the podium along with scintillating albums by Abel Ganz (Shooting the Albatross), Credo's last 2 , Anubis (Tower of Silence), Airbag (All Rights Removed), ICU (Now and Here), Collage (Moonshine), Galahad (Empires), as well as the last few IQ and all the Satellite recordings, among many others. Sorry naysayers, there is without any doubt some fabulous quasi-symphonic material out there that will knock you down, stunned. Generally, the deal should really rely on a great vocalist to carry the relatively mundane symphonic backdrop and reach for higher musical glory. Well, Liam Campbell has a voice that simply transcends the monotone and vaults these Irish lads into a contending place among the above mentioned warriors. The vocals are intensely passionate, expressive yet husky, without any hysteria and overblow, recalling the prime quality of Marillion-era Fish and Manfred Mann's Earth Band vocalist Chris Hamlet Thompson.

Everything about this record shines, from the glorious cover art and the sleek production, to the impeccable musicianship and forceful delivery. Guitarist Gerry McGerigal has a unique timbre and provides glimmering riffs and massages them with slithering leads, the drumming is particularly solid without that mechanical binary weakness deployed by some of the weaker neo-groups, allied with a powerful bass and supple keys that finish off the instrumental side more than competently. The material is vivacious both in its succinct messaging and its audio intensity, but the vocals really take all this by the jugular and waltz the compositions into the prog twilight. The herculean "Theatre of the Absurd" is an astounding "entree en matiere", full of bluster and unmitigated confidence, bellicose riffs, reptilian bass and brawny drumming shoving the mood forward and providing the platform for some eyebrow-raising moments (such as the Manfred Mann ?like synthesizer solo), some gentle passages that float and flutter as well as some rockier sections that recall Brit legends Spooky Tooth. Campbell wastes little time in showing off his animated vocal prowess, contrasting sweet and sour better than a Cantonese chef. The track's second half burst into a sizzling detonation that sets the swarthy tone right there and then, recalling the finer moments from the Earth Band. An outstanding track that is available on PA for you to sample.

Being Irish, you have the requisite Christian relevance (the "House of reverence" lyric) on "Stranger in the Looking Glass", a mid-tempo, volume-pedal guitar caress that blooms nicely into a stately bluesy lament proclaimed brilliantly by the thrilling Liam Campbell vocal and a sulfuric lead guitar excursion into the loftiest heavens. Not very technical one may say but goose-bump material of the finest vintage nevertheless. The genuine ingenuity of the lyrical content and its essential delivery is simply remarkable to even the most jaded ear. Little dabs of acoustic guitar, svelte backing whispers and deft drumming combine with power chords to provide a constant sense of movement and entertainment. The raucous and concentrated "The Center Cannot Hold" introduces some snarl and nastiness, pummeling relentlessly a stark message of social despondence. McGerigal riffles his axe with merciless abandon so as to underline the rage, distinguishing slashes of doom to fade out from the storm.

"A Gathering of Crows" is a rather sarcastic stab at the hypocrisy of war and its socio- religious masters, accusing jihad and crusade alike, and asking "Where is the faith that brings us peace". With the new millennium, it's about time we see artists tackling subjects that crested rock in the first place: condemnation of a faulty human condition that claims illumination and yet showcases unending primitivism. A jaded, bored and unintelligent planet of web-surfers who are now anesthetized from the reality of their idiotic routine. Where "waking up" is replaced by "logging on" without the responsibility or the guilt. The lyrical content is astonishing, Liam is quite the spokesman and the lads infuse some lavish ditties like the fabulous piano insert but truth is we are reminded of Marillion's anti- war Script of a Jester's Tear message. The applause for the courage displayed is well- earned.

"The Sleepers Are Waking" is perhaps the most accessible track here, featuring another breathless vocal exhibition and a notably more acoustic presentation which recalls vintage the Strawbs, not exactly paltry company. A beautiful track that is a dedication to a deceased friend.

To finish "en beaute" as the French like to say, how about a 15 minute masterpiece title track, that encompasses everything previously stated, emotionally on par with IQ's devastating "Harvest of Souls"? Fueled by a deep sense of pace and atmosphere, this is cinematographic prog at its finest, Liam offering a multitude of voice resonances (plus some game-show host sample babblings), with bassist Wilson Graham booming along fiercely, brooding e-piano and jangling guitar arpeggios adding to the palette. The second half is even more desperate and anguished, the main theme achingly excruciating within dire lyrical content, this is no happy party music but rather intelligent and thought-provoking progressive rock music that has meaning and necessity.

This album pleased me immediately and to my astonishment, it gets even better with repeated auditions, sliding nicely into my recent favorite's list. Liam Campbell is a stellar voice and the bands kicks ass. I think the recording is spectacular as this material must be amazing live.

4.5 Irish Matrixes

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 A Time of Shadow by DEAD HEROES CLUB album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.85 | 39 ratings

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A Time of Shadow
Dead Heroes Club Neo-Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Dead Heroes Club is a neo prog band from Ireland lesser known in prog circles with 2 albums under their belt released so far. The second album offered in 2009 named A time of shadow and issued by Progrock records is a pleasent album overall, but is little to paced and mid tempo most of the time for my liking. Some long pieces are present here like the best track of the album , opening Theatre of the Absurd, nice instrumental parts, pleasent voice, the title track with almost 16 min in lenght show some good potential of this band but to much time they didn't burst in instrumental passages, they play thet mid tempo neo prog on every piece, with exception shorter The Centre Cannot Hold. I would like to here more complex passages, more instrumental parts, because are few of them on whole album, the band rely more on vocal department, btw Liam Campbell did a good job here, has a great voice for such music. Fans of Genesis at some point and neo bands from late '80's early '90's can have some spins, but I don't think is something spectacular, at least for me. The album is not advenurous and rich in arrangements, is only ok and nothing more. 3 stars, nice cover art.

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 A Time of Shadow by DEAD HEROES CLUB album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.85 | 39 ratings

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A Time of Shadow
Dead Heroes Club Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars You have to feel a little sorry for these guys ? I mean, not only do they play progressive rock (which has to be probably the most critically despised form of music in the world), but they also come from Ireland which is a country that doesn't exactly have a great history in these matters. But, one of the most important bands ever to come from Ireland could be called progressive ? namely the mighty incredible Horslips ? so maybe there is a chance for them after all. Of course, prog music and fantasy artwork has always gone hand in hand so by getting Ted Nasmith, the official illustrator for the Tolkein estate, to get involved was definitely a good move. So to be an Irish progressive rock band makes them a rarity, and originally this was an unsigned release that they put out on there own so these guys obviously have plenty of passion and belief, and the main reason for that is simple. This is bloody good.

This is music that obviously has its' roots in the Seventies, but really it has way more in common with the bands that were making their presence felt in the early Nineties. There are definitely links with Citizen Cain (and therefore Genesis) and with the much-missed (by me anyway) Belfast proggers Winter, and Hammond-style keyboards can never fail to be a hit either. There is plenty of melody and great lyrics, with vocals that have a real presence, and loads of time signature moves and changes in emphasis and musical dominance.

This is the sort of music that I used to be sent a great deal when I was first getting involved with the underground scene in the early Nineties, and I had forgotten just how much I had missed it. Once this has finished I think that I will have to play Galahad's 'Nothing Is Written' ? I'm just in the mood. This is an album that looks backwards as well as forwards, and is something that progheads will play time and again ? a sheer delight. www.progrockrecords.com

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 Dead Heroes Club by DEAD HEROES CLUB album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.85 | 15 ratings

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Dead Heroes Club
Dead Heroes Club Neo-Prog

Review by seventhsojourn
Special Collaborator RPI

4 stars Dead Heroes Club is a rare beast indeed, being an Irish progressive rock band. They seem to be a bit of an unknown quantity on ProgArchives despite the fact that their excellent sophomore album of last year, ''A Time Of Shadow'', was released by the top American label ProgRock Records to wide critical acclaim. The debut on the other hand was independently produced but I actually think it's the slightly stronger album, and it's certainly the logical place to start for those interested in the band.

Dead Heroes Club started out playing Genesis, Floyd and Yes covers, and although they are clearly inspired by the '70s prog giants, they also put me in mind of punk rockers Stiff Little Fingers. Like SLF, the subject matter of their songs is heavily influenced by their homeland's troubled history. The dark themes in the lyrics and the powerful nature of the music together make for a combination of real substance, like Guinness and Irish stew.

The opening song ''A Day In The Life of The World'' includes a reference to Wilfred Owen, the British poet tragically killed in action one week before the end of the First World War. If Owen is known for his realistic portrayal of the horrors of war, Dead Heroes Club should be hailed for their gritty descriptions of the ethno-political conflict of the so-called Troubles; as the band themselves say in their PA interview, ''a chaotic world of oppression, guns and tribalism will always feed the music''. Similarly, ''Sunrise On The Trenches'' concerns imperialism and the exploitation of ordinary soldiers during WW1 as mere cannon fodder. Their well-crafted songs are full of great melodies and riffs, but the lyrics are their real strong suit.

Outside of the Italian scene, Dead Heroes Club is probably my favourite modern band and I'm eagerly anticipating their third album which is due for release early next year. Check these guys out, they're good. Really.

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 A Time of Shadow by DEAD HEROES CLUB album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.85 | 39 ratings

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A Time of Shadow
Dead Heroes Club Neo-Prog

Review by Eapo_q42

4 stars Excellent, surprising stuff.

It's a fantastic album like this that makes me realise I have a problem with the term "Neo-Prog". It's a classification which seems, by it's very nature, to define a lesser style of progressive music. This music generally has Genesis as it's primary influence, and yet we do not refer to it as symphonic. To me, it seems as though any band tagged as Neo-Prog might as well be referred to as "Sub-Symphonic".

Much of the time, I'll admit, that's pretty close to the truth. On the other hand, this album by Dead Heroes Club really deserves better. This album has elements of true symphonic prog, elements of space rock, and even some prog-folk. It's heavy on the synths at times, sure, and Liam Campbell's voice sounds a hell of a lot like Peter Gabriel's, but that should not relegate this music to (what I consider) the lesser rank of Neo-Prog.

The tracks here are all excellent. There is not a track which feels like filler, nor one which overstays its welcome. That last point is an important one. Though there are 4 songs which range from 9 minutes - 15 minutes, they all feel extremely organic. This is to say that the separate parts and instrumental sections flow into one another with confidence and ease. There is none of that different-songs-slapped-together syndrome which plagues so many modern prog bands who attempt at any cost to create an "epic". Rather the contrary; all 4 longer tracks are composed with great skill and care, the sort of care that usually comes from a band with more experience.

The shorter songs too, however, are very good. The rocker "Centre Cannot Hold" is proof these guys should not be pidgeon-holed stylistically, and while not very proggy, is highly listenable indeed. "The Sleepers are Waking" is a beautiful folkly ballad, apparently a tribute to a deceased friend. The melodies are very bittersweet and memorable, with some female backing vocals making their only appearance on the album to great effect.

I simply have to mention the lyrics. The lyrics on this album really raise it above the standard prog fare. Though there are obviously some grand exceptions, a lot of prog music deals in nonsense lyrics, I'm sure you'll agree. The lyrics here simply cannot be described as nonsense. Not only do they deal with real-world issues such as politics and religion, they do so in a prosaic but highly literary fashion. There is no semblance of pretension or arrogance, and never does it feel like you are being preached to. These songs simply have something to say, and they make their points well.

Finally, a word about the production. I know I should have more tolerance for a band that does not have considerable means, but I can't help it. The production is slightly muddled, and is frankly the reason this fails to garner 5 stars from me. Firstly, the vocals are pushed way, way too far out in front. This is relatively acceptable since the lyrics are great, as mentioned above, and since Liam Campbell has a good, strong voice. The instruments, however, lack any sort of clear separation, particularly the bass which sounds very muddy down in the bottom of the mix. That's a shame because there are some great bass lines throughout.

This minor quibble aside, a truly excellent album. Please give these Irishmen a chance, especially if you, like me, think Neo-Prog usually represents a lesser style of prog. These 4 gentlemen definitely rise above such classifications.

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 A Time of Shadow by DEAD HEROES CLUB album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.85 | 39 ratings

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A Time of Shadow
Dead Heroes Club Neo-Prog

Review by seventhsojourn
Special Collaborator RPI

4 stars This is the second album by Irish Neo-progressive band Dead Heroes Club. If you think the album cover has something of a Middle Earth feel to it that's because the artwork is by Ted Naismith, illustrator of Tolkein's works. However, the lyrics of this 6-song set aren't so much concerned with fantasy fiction as with hard-hitting invective. The first track ''Theatre of the Absurd'' is clearly informed by the political situation in the band's homeland, while ''A Gathering of Crows'' is a polemic on the twin targets of organised religion and war. From a musical viewpoint the songs are well crafted, generally melodic and tuneful but at times hard- edged and aggressive as on ''The Centre Cannot Hold''.

''A Time Of Shadow'' is a fine album that may appeal to fans of Pink Floyd, Genesis and, in particular, Marillion. It's not the most optimistic of works but is recommended nonetheless.

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 A Time of Shadow by DEAD HEROES CLUB album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.85 | 39 ratings

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A Time of Shadow
Dead Heroes Club Neo-Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars A good quality sophomore effort from this Irish band, as long as vintage-sounding Neo Progressive rock is to your liking.

They aren't Marillion clones these guys though, despite the above descriptions. But they have most of the main characteristics of many early Neo bands: A tendency to explore rather mellow stylistic landscapes, giving ample room for piano, clean or acoustic guitars and floating, lush synth textures. And with a vocalist with a voice similar to Fish or Peter Gabriel in expression, many strong associations are easily made.

The lead vocals are a highly expressive and dominant part of this bands efforts though, emotional and often verging on melodramatic, and is probably the key element to whether or not this band's efforts will be appreciated. The more or less subtle additions of harder rocking riffs is a nice bonus feature, especially when concentrated in the energetic opening parts of The Centre Cannot Hold.

The opening numer Theatre of the Absurd stands out as the best number here though, and if you like that you'll like the rest of the album as well. And while none of the other compositions equals this fine effort the album as such is an accomplished piece of work, recommended to those who enjoy the somewhat mellower escapades of this stylistic direction.

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Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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