Dead Heroes Club claim to be the sole Irish progressive rock band,
and indeed apart from the defunct Horslips, nothing else comes to mind. Their self-titled debut album is also self-produced
and -promoted, and represents their "mission to reinvent and rejuvenate prog-rock in a contemporary context".
The album kicks off with A Day in the Life of the World,
which opens pleasantly enough with clean guitars and piano before introducing Liam Campbell's vocals. Mr Campbell is a dead
ringer for Peter Gabriel, and displays a similar range and style to early Genesis, with a definite influence in the lyrics
as well. The music here is reminiscent of American neo-proggers Iluvatar. It continues in this fairly inoffensive vein for
almost four minutes, before launching into a very early-Genesis passage with Hackett-esque guitars and Hammond. Indeed, this
piece would not have been out of place on Foxtrot.
Feel the Dark continues the dichotomy. One can't
escape the Gabriel comparison, and we're not just talking vocal quality here. Otherwise, it's a lovely tune with some nice
riffs. Sunrise on the Trenches, a delightful lyric, has a long introduction in the booklet about the battle of the
Somme. I confess I would have liked to have heard this track - and some of the others - with less of the ever-present rhythm
Falling from Grace ups the intensity with some more
guitars. It seems that ten years of guitar effects have passed guitarist Gerry McGerigal by, which is a shame, for the fizzy
clipped sound here detracts from the tasteful playing. The middle section here is something Genesis would have done about
thirty years ago; since no-one else seems to be doing it any more, I have no objection to Dead Heroes Club doing just that.
It's followed by some shorter tracks; The Road to Jerusalem has a nod to IQ in style but lacks variety, and tends to
drag a little. One Day Too Soon cuts back on the ever-present rhythm guitars, allowing the song to groove, and it works
very well. I'm not sure which band member provides the backing vocals here, but it fits nicely. Press Any Key, by contrast,
is four minutes that really doesn't belong on this album.
Third Light is a nice but throwaway instrumental,
leading into the longest piece here, namely the ten-minute A Secret Never To Be Told. Now, I generally like long pieces,
provided there's enough variety to sustain the interest, and Dead Heroes Club perform that well by moving through each of
the moods found throughout the album. It's good, with the exception of some unusually poor vocals early on. They manage to
shake off the Genesis comparisons here for the most part. The hidden section at the end is unnecessary.
Dead Heroes Club have done themselves proud with this debut. The
album is consistent and offers a good blend of acoustic stylings with the more progressive influences. I would recommend this
highly to any fan of the softer side of progressive rock, as well as early Genesis fans. The recent addition of a full-time
keyboardist to the band promises more diversity and power for live performances and the next release too. It could do with
some more variety in the songs, a little more dynamics to the music, less rhythm guitars; but ultimately, it's an excellent
Conclusion: 7 out of 10