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Dead Heroes Club: A Time Of Shadow

Second album from Irish proggers Dead Heroes Club, A Time of Shadow is independently produced and released. Prog bands are something of a rarity in Ireland and to the best of the bands knowledge they are the only current exponent of the genre. The first thing that strikes you about this album is the wonderful artwork which was designed for the band by Ted Nasmith, the official illustrator for the Tolkein estate. Fantasy cover art and prog have always gone hand in hand and it is reassuring to find Dead Heroes Club upholding this tradition.

This is an album of quintessential prog; ever changing time signatures, swirling keyboards, lengthy solos, melodramatic vocals and lyrics that conjure up all kinds of imagery. Vocalist Liam Campbell has a gift for haunting and memorable melodies, just check out the opening to "Stranger In The Looking Glass", which provides arguably the albums soaraway highlight. Meanwhile guitarist Gerry McGerigal and the rhythm section of drummer Michael Gallagher and bassist Wilson Graham contribute some fluid instrumental passages. Consisting of four lengthier pieces and two songs at little more than four minutes ("The Centre Cannot Hold" and "The Sleepers Are Waking") it is the epics where the band really flex their collective muscles and stretch out whilst evoking moods of both light and shade. This is best exemplified by the jaunty keys on "A Gathering of Crows" which bounce along with an insistent melody whilst the lyric tackles the altogether darker theme of religious fanaticism. The grand finale of the fifteen minute title track is very much a sweeping epic that ebbs and flows yet is still held tightly together in regard to composition and arrangement.

Whilst there are still bands such as Dead Heroes Club around then the future generation of classic prog seems very much assured. In short, this is a triumph.

Editors Note-This band has recently been signed to the US label ProgRock Records, so be on the lookout for the official release of A Time of Shadows soon.

Track Listing
01. Theatre of the Absurd
02. Stranger in the Looking Glass
03. The Centre Cannot Hold
04. A Gathering of Crows
05. The Sleepers Are Waking
06. A Time of Shadow

Added: December 19th 2009
Reviewer: Dean Pedley
Related Link: Band MySpace
Hits: 3542
Language: english

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Dead Heroes Club: A Time Of Shadow
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2009-12-19 02:40:33
My Score:

Dead Heroes Club are a progressive rock band from Ireland. To say this came as a surprise to me is an understatement. I have to admit I am not overly familiar with the Ireland prog rock scene but this record is quickly becoming one of my favourites of 2009. A Time Of Shadow is the band's second release.

Playing in the band are Liam Campbell (lead and backing vocals, keyboards), Michael Gallagher (drums), Gerry McGerigal (electric and acoustic guitars, backing vocals) and Wilson Graham (bass, backing vocals). Lets just get to the point, if you like 70s progressive rock you will love A Time Of Shadow. The band combines elements of bands like Genesis, Uriah Heep, Rush and Pink Floyd, especially in some of the more atmospheric sections. While the band draws inspiration from these 70s rock icons this album is not a copy cat by any means.

This is an excellent example of how progressive rock should be played. The music flows from heavier passages to more introspective sections effortlessly and has excellent dynamics. There are classic 70s inspired guitar riffs and fiery solos. The keyboards are used in a dramatic fashion from quieter piano passages to raging Hammond organ. Some of the organ sounds reminded me of Uriah Heep. Perhaps the best part of this band are the vocals of Liam Campbell. Imagine a hybrid of Fish and Gabriel and you would be close to describing Campbell's voice. At times the band has a Marillion flavour but have a heavier sound than that band.

Although there are only six songs there is still roughly fifty-five minutes of music with four songs over nine minutes. The album's first song "Theatre of the Absurd" is a good sampling of what is in store. Heavy and light sections with an abundance of keys, excellent vocals and classy guitar work. One of the album's best songs is the epic sounding "Stranger in the Looking Glass" where a slower Floyd-like section meets harder moments of soaring guitar, heavier riffs and tasty drum fills. When Campbell sings:

"Then one day I awoke and found a
stranger in the looking glass,
His face was old; his eyes were cold,
And I was almost too afraid to ask…
Is this what I've become? What else
could I have done?"

The emotion in is voice is palpable giving shivers down my spine every time I play it.

My favourite song is the grand "A Time of Shadow" a fifteen minute piece of beautiful melodies, great guitar work, fantastic vocals and the occasional splash of Hammond. The soft intro of piano and keys with Campbell's Fish-like voice setting the mood, paints a somber picture which quickly perks up as the pace quickens. Definitely a Marillion flavour on this one.

I absolutely love this CD. Progrock Records have another winner on their hands with A Time Of Shadow. If you like melodic progressive rock this is a no-brainer. Buy it!

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