Band: Dead Heroes Club
CD Title: “A Time of Shadow”
Band Website: www.myspace.com/thedeadheroesclub
Label: ProgRock Records
Release Date: 2009
Quick, name the top 5 Irish progressive rock bands. I must admit that after
Fruupp I’d be stumped…but now I can add one more to the list, and that’s the Dead Heroes Club. Their new release A Time of Shadow is
a classic symphonic prog release that hit’s all the right notes. This quintet consists of Liam Campbell (lead vocals, acoustic guitar),
Mickey Gallagher (drums, percussion), Wilson Graham (Bass, vocals), Gerry McGerigal (guitars, vocals) and Chris Norby (keyboards).
A Time of Shadow is the follow-up to their first release back in 2004 and is made up of six tracks, four of which are over nine-minutes
in length the two remaining compositions are just over four-minutes, so there’s a lot of musicality here. Stylistically Dead Heroes
Club blend elements of different eras of Genesis, think Wind and Wuthering or Trick of the Tail with more than a hint of the recent
work from Echolyn. Proceedings get under way with “Theatre of the Absurd” [9:20] with an Echolyn-styled fast-paced fusiony guitar/organ
riff before settling down to a slower thoughtful Wind and Wuthering feel. The composition goes through a number of musical change-ups
but all of these influences are filtered nicely by the band’s own approach giving them a rather distinct sound. That sound is led
by Campbell’s vocals which are best described as a more forceful Peter Gabriel without that the raspyness. Track two “Stranger in
the Looking Glass” [9:50] starts off soft and flowing with keyboard styled strings and Steve Hackett-styled guitar tones all building
to a subtle crescendo at the 1:30 mark at which point the vocals come in to lay the first part’s foundational melody. Don’t expect
any searing guitar solos with the music created by Dead Heroes Club, instead you will hear a wonderful mix of acoustic and electric
guitar where the solos tend to be muted and even perhaps restrained all the while fitting the feel of the piece without the need to
stand-apart. Keyboards as you might expect play a very prominent role either providing layers of atmosphere or one of many solos interplaying
with the guitar. A number of times the band develops some absolutely beautiful dramatic musical crescendos that are repeated thematically.
The band shows they can rock with “The Centre Cannot Hold” [4:12] which displays the most Echolyn style influence. It’s a brilliant
piece that begins powerfully but then closes out in a slower more contemplative mood.
Dead Heroes Club are a band that will
appeal to a wide range of symphonic prog fans given they offer a hint of the classic symphonic sound mixed with more modern influences;
long songs with lots dynamics and musical interplay and more than a few surprising musical twists and turns. I really like these guys.A Time of Shadow is a great follow-up and I highly recommend it.