Falloch Metal Hammer Interview

28 09 2011

Here’s a reprint of my interview with Falloch that ran in Metal Hammer last month. Their album is ace so check it out.

Fresh Meat


Formed in 2010, Scottish duo Falloch release their debut Where Distant Spirits Remain on September 26 and it’s a genre straddling opus that effortlessly captures the rugged beauty of their surroundings. Naming themselves after the Falls of Falloch in Crianlarich in the Loch Lomond area, musicians Andy Marshall and Scott McLean employ atmospheric metal, folk and post-rock sounds to tell their nature and nostalgia inspired stories and from the very first strains of nine minute album opener We Are Gathering Dust it’s clear that the band march to their own beat.

“Our main inspiration was to make an album that we felt conveyed atmosphere and emotion,” begins Andy. “We weren’t bothered about genres-it was the overall feeling we were interested it. We were listening to music ranging from Alcest and Deftones through to Yann Tiersen and Jeff Buckley during the recording of the album and we aimed to create a record that appealed to music fans across the spectrum.”

Opting to complete their album before going on the hunt for prospective labels, Falloch managed to dodge the usual delays that dog other new bands’ debuts by having their finished opus recorded and ready to go.

“From previous experiences with former groups we’ve been in, we have always felt that you end up wasting so much time doing things that don‘t really benefit the band,” he offers. “Overall the making of the album was pretty relaxed. We wanted to enjoy the process while making sure everything we were doing was as good as it could be.”

Produced by the band and mastered by Ulver and King Crimson studio wizard Ronan Chris Murphy, Where Distant Spirits Remain is a record that’s greatly influenced by the Scottish landscape. While Andy won’t be drawn on specific lyrical details, he does admit the band’s sound owes much to his surrounding and they plan to push these influences even further in the future.

“Yeah, the lyrics are definitely inspired by the Scottish landscape,” he agrees. “Whenever we’re on a road trip through the highlands, staying at my cottage in the Isle of Skye or just walking through the forest near our homes we always feel really inspired. There are also other themes such as nostalgia and sorrow in the lyrics which are influenced by personal experiences and a longing for the past. I think everyone sees different meanings in lyrics and I would rather someone read ours and took something that was personal from them than us going into meanings behind them. The landscape/nature, traditional music and art of Scotland has a huge role to play in our sound. We also have a huge admiration for the Scottish Gaelic language and we’ve discussed possibly using some on our future material.

At the moment though, the band’s main focus is on their debut and now that the record has a release date they’re ready to enter stage two of their plans-recruiting some live players and booking some gig

 “Our main aim is to find a full live line up and practice with that,” he says finally. “At the moment things work really well with the two of us but in the future we would love to make Falloch into a more traditional band. We just want to make sure we have the right people to do that with.”


Who Are They?

LINE-UP: Andy Marshall (vocals, guitars, bass), Scott McLean (piano, keyboards, drums)

SOUND LIKE: A melancholic and nostalgia influenced metal-based musical melting pot served up with a side order of Scottish-ness.

CURRENT RELEASE: Where Distant Spirits Remain (Candlelight)

WEBSITE: www.falloch.com.

Iron Maiden Belfast Review

27 09 2011

Here’s a reprint of my review of the Maiden gig from August that ran in the Big List-

Gig Review

Iron Maiden at the Odyssey Arena, Belfast

It’s been 15 long years since Iron Maiden last stepped out onto a Belfast stage and it seems as if absence really has made the city’s heart grow fonder as tonight the Odyssey Arena is sold out and crammed to the rafters with thousands of Maiden-loving maniacs (much to the chagrin of local, to cool for school nay-sayers…).

Unlike other bands of a similar vintage (*cough* Metallica *cough*) this evening’s set is very much about the here and now and we’re treated to no less than five tracks from their current chart-busting record ‘The Final Frontier.’  ‘The Talisman,’ ‘Coming Home’ and more are perfectly performed by the six-piece who bound around the stage like a band half their age. Of course some of the old classics are aired too and the likes of ‘Two Minutes To Midnight’ and ‘The Evil That Men Do’ sound as fresh now as they did nearly three decades ago when they first came out.

Frontman Bruce Dickinson is as charismatic as ever as he tells us all about his dream of ‘Maiden World’ while belting out ‘Fear Of The Dark’ and the anthemic ‘Blood Brothers’ and bassist Steve Harris is possibly the coolest man ever to tread the Odyssey stage. Of course no show would be complete without Eddie and he appears twice throughout the set and the sight of his giant zombie-fied bonce slowly peering over Nicko McBrain’s drumkit during set closer ‘Iron Maiden’ will live on as one of the best moments in the venue’s history.

 As they sign off with the classic ‘Running Free,’ a rather languid looking inflatable Lucifer sits and watches the band from the right hand side of the stage and before we know it, Iron Maiden are drinking Guinness and mucking around before waving their goodbyes to us all, safe in the knowledge that their reign as the kings of metal is far from over. Up the Irons.

Edwin McFee

Let Em Come

21 09 2011


Ash and Divine Comedy Charity Gig

20 09 2011

Press release below-

Ulster Hall, Belfast, November 3, 2011

Featuring The Divine Comedy, Ash, The Undertones 
with support from John D’Arcy

This special concert has been put together to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Society. The three main acts will each perform one of their classic albums in sequence.

The Divine Comedy, featuring Neil Hannon and a string quartet will play the 1994 ‘Promenade’ album. Tracks including ‘Tonight We Fly’, ‘The Summerhouse’ and ‘When The Lights Go Out All Over Europe’ will all be aired.

Ash will present their first ‘proper’ album, ‘1977’ as the original three piece. This record topped the UK chart in 1996 and fielded songs such as ‘Girls From Mars’, Angel Interceptor’, Goldfinger’ and ‘Oh Yeah’.

The Undertones will perform their debut self-titled album from 1979, including ‘Teenage Kicks’, ‘Get Over You’, ‘Jimmy Jimmy’ and ‘Here Comes The Summer’.

Tim Wheeler from Ash explains his involvement in the event:

“My Dad passed away in January this year. He’d been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 2008 and lived the last 6 months of his life in the Psychiatry Of Old Age Ward at Downe Hospital. I spent a lot of time in the hospital with him and saw many other patients and families going through exactly the same thing as we were going through.

“As my Dad’s condition deteriorated I felt very helpless as there was nothing I could do except visit him as much as possible. When I heard that Neil’s father had also been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s I thought that we could actually do something using our music to help fight Alzheimer’s. It is a growing worldwide problem and as yet there is no cure. The main hope seems to be in prevention and a lot of funding for research is needed.

“So using the uplifting power of great music we are going to make a contribution. It’s going to be a wonderful and emotional night for me. The Undertones have been a big influence on Ash, they are Northern Irish music legends and it’s going to be a real treat hearing them play their first album.

“I’ve been a friend and massive fan of Neil for years too and always love being on the same stage as The Divine Comedy. With Ash, we’re really excited to be playing our debut album ‘1977’ in full, something that we’ve only ever done twice before. My Dad loved music, playing piano was one of his joys and he would never miss an Ash gig in Belfast. I know he’ll be there in spirit.

“As well as raising funds for the Alzheimer’s Society I’d like to use our gig to say how important a service the Health Service is and that we can’t let it be taken away. I’d also like to say how grateful my family and I are for the Health Service and the kindness of the staff at The Downe Hospital for the care my father received.”

Neil Hannon, The Divine Comedy says: 

“My father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s several years ago. It is a debilitating and frustrating condition, and affects not just the sufferer but all those around them. It is however possible, with early diagnosis and medication, to continue living a meaningful and enjoyable life as my dad has shown. I find him as entertaining now as ever, just in a much more random sort of way.

“Of course being my Dad he decided to use his capacity as a public figure to talk openly about the inner workings of his ailing mind. To help demystify and de-stigmatise it a little. He’s a very awesome man. I’m delighted to finally get this opportunity to do my bit for the cause. It should be a fantastic night!”

Ian Thomas, Alzheimer’s Society, Operations Director for Northern
Ireland and Wales, adds:

“It’s brilliant that Ash, The Divine Comedy and The Undertones have chosen to support Alzheimer’s Society through this gig. Not only do music fans get to hear three great bands but it raises awareness of dementia and helps tackle some of the stigma that surrounds the condition.

“There are currently 17,700 people with dementia in Northern Ireland and by 2021 this is set to rise to 25000.  Every ticket sold will help support people to live well with dementia today and fund vital research to find a cure for tomorrow.”

The event is part of Belfast Music Week which runs from October 30 – November 5. Belfast City Council, with support from the NI Tourist Board and Tourism Ireland, has organised a packed programme of events in the run-up to the MTV European Music Awards which take place at the Odyssey Arena on November 6. A full programme of events will be announced soon and will be available via the council’s website www.belfastcity.gov.uk


Doors at 7pm. Tickets, £20 and £22 will go on sale on Thursday 22nd September at 9am at the Ulster Hall box office: www.ulsterhall.co.uk Tel.  02890 334455.

Tickets will also be available at Ticketmaster www.ticketmaster.co.uk and from Crowdsurge www.crowdsurge.com

Finally, you can donate to the cause via JustGiving or by text:

Text: ULST77 to 70070 for a donation of £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10.

Movin’ Right Along

15 09 2011

This week I feel my deadlines may very well murderize me, but this clip below is helping make everything seem right in the world.

For anyone eager for more Muppets action, here’s my review of their latest soundtrack that ran in Hot Press a few issues ago.



The Green Album (EMI)

Three Stars

Key Track: ‘Rainbow Connection’

Kermit and Co. rope in some famous friends for their latest movie soundtrack.

Serving as something of an appetizer for the main course that is the soon to be released Muppets movie, the cheekily titled Green Album is released this fortnight and features a sterling roster of American college rock types (such as Weezer, OK Go and Alkaline Trio) tackle songs from Kermie and the gang’s previous cinematic excursions. Like any good Muppets’ tale however, there are heroes and there are villains on this album and unfortunately not every track clicks the way we would have liked.

For example, Evanescence warbler Amy Lee delivers a shockingly bad rendition of the classic ‘Halfway Down The Stairs’ that takes what was once such a sweet song and turns it into a humourless, charisma-free mess of a tune. Alkaline Trio’s punk by numbers cover of ‘Movin’ Right Along’ isn’t much better and if the track had a face you’d probably want to punch it before it’s done, but mercifully the acts hit the mark more often than miss it. Rachel Yamagata’s ‘I’m Going To Go Back There Someday’ is suitably sugary while Weezer and Paramore’s Hayley Williams’ take on Kermit T. Frog’s signature tune ‘Rainbow Connection’ is so good it would make him green with envy. Are the songs as good as the originals from the late 70s/early 80s films? Of course not, but they’re mostly delivered with genuine affection and care and we think that the late, great Jim Henson would be happy to see his furry friends’ musical escapades re-imagined for a new generation.

Edwin McFee

Blogging A Dead Horse Is 3

11 09 2011

Yes folks, after 400 blog posts and tens of thousands of hits, Blogging A Dead Horse celebrates its third birthday today. Feel free to send cards and cake to the usual address.  

HMV Star Wars Day

10 09 2011

I’ll let you into a secret.I’ve actually never seen any of the Star Wars films before, but I know a lot of Blogging A Dead Horse readers have, so you may be interested in this event happening in Belfast today.Here’s the press release-


 HMV Star Wars Day In Aid Of Teenage Cancer Trust

What:    Star Wars Day

Where: HMV Belfast Donegall Arcade      

When:  Saturday September 10th

From:    1pm- 4pm


HMV Belfast Donegall Arcade is hosting a Star Wars Charity Day on Saturday 10th of September from 1pm to 4pm to mark the release of the Star Wars Blu-Ray 9-Disc Edition.


Star Wars fans are invited to call in to the HMV Belfast Donegall Arcade to get a photo taken with Emerald Garrison, the Star Wars Stormtroopers to mark the release of the 9-Disc edition.


Fans will be able to soak up a real Star Wars experience – the Stormtroopers will be patrolling the store for photos and to meet and greet members of the public where the force is strong.


HMV staff members will be collecting funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust as well as dealing with pre-orders for the 9-Disc Edition release throughout the day.


HMV Donegall Arcade manager James Rider manager said, “This promises to be a fun day -we invite fans to get into the spirit of the Star Wars Blu-Ray 9-Disc Edition release and get a photo taken with the Stormtroopers. We hope to raise as much as possible for the Teenage Cancer Trust and ask that people donate whatever they can on the day.”



Notes for Editors

The Star Wars Blu-Ray 9-Disc Edition rrp -£67.49

Official release date- Monday 12th of September.

Customers will receive an HMV exclusive free t-shirt when they purchase the box set.


The Star Wars Blu-Ray 9-Disc Edition 


This nine-disc collection brings the wonder of the entire saga direct to your living room, where you can revisit all of your favourite Star Wars moments in gorgeous high definition and with pristine 6.1 DTS Surround Sound. Dive deeper into the universe with an unprecedented 40+ hours of special features, highlighted by never-before-seen content sourced from the Lucasfilm archives.

The comprehensive collection also features numerous deleted, extended and alternate scenes, new documentaries and a cross-section of the countless Star Wars spoofs that have appeared in pop culture over the past three decades.

Marking the first time ever that the full Saga is available in one complete collection, this Blu-ray box set also features a coveted peek into the making of the Saga with vintage documentaries, audio commentaries, behind-the-scenes moments, interviews, prop and costume turnarounds, retrospectives and more.

Flogging Molly Interview

9 09 2011

Here’s a reprint of my interview with Flogging Molly that ran in Hot Press a while back.It’s always a pleasure talking to Dave and they’re a great band so check them out.

Return Of The King

Celtic-punk innovators Flogging Molly talk to Edwin McFee about their homecoming shows, their new album Speed Of Darkness and reveal why the Mighty Stef made them want to quit music for good.

They say a prophet is never recognized in his own land and in a way that phrase could be true for Dave King, Dublin-born frontman for folk-punks Flogging Molly. You see while the musician’s band may have sold over two million copies of their fourth record Float in the U.S. alone, the group have never really cracked the mainstream in Ireland despite boasting a sound which drips with Celtic influences and imagery. This year, King and Co. attempt to put all that right though when they release their fifth effort, the rebel rousing American protest song themed Speed Of Darkness.

Speed Of Darkness is a record that’s essentially inspired by the resiliency of humanity in the face of recession and cut backs,” offers the frontman. “It was written in a basement in Detroit and it all came together really quickly. Thankfully we didn’t feel like we were under pressure to measure up to the success of Float. We just wanted to continue evolving our sound and pushing things forward.”

As optimistic as it is angry, the record showcases the band at its most assured, with each of the seven musicians comfortable with their roles within the tight-knit outfit.

“It’s so weird, but the older we get, the closer we become,” laughs Dave. “We all genuinely miss each other when we’re not on tour and we’re always in constant contact with one other-which, as you probably know, is a bizarre situation for a band. Everyone usually hates each other’s guts!”

Recorded in what used to be an old church in Asheville, North Carolina (the studio they wanted to use in Detroit was already occupied by Eminem) Flogging Molly’s marriage of Irish and American influences has never been as strong as it is now and while Dave admits that the band (now in their 14th year) are getting older, they’re still having a blast.

“I think this record shows that musically the group have grown up, but we’re still having fun,” considers the musician, who spends his time living in both Detroit and Wexford with his wife and bandmate Bridget Regan. “The studio was amazing, but it was weird for this ex-altar boy singing what some would regard as blasphemous lyrics surrounded by stained glass windows, I’ll tell you that!”

With Flogging Molly about to hit the road for performances at the likes of Coachella, Glastonbury, Lollapalooza and more this summer, there are two Irish dates at the end of August which the singer is especially looking forward to and Dave is hoping that his band’s profile at home will hopefully catch up with the rest of the world.

“I definitely think there’s room for an act like Flogging Molly back at home in Ireland,” he says. “I’d love to play more often at home and tour more there at some stage too, but I’m also grateful for the following we already have. I remember playing at Oxegen a few years ago and everyone knew who we were, which was great, and we sold out the Ambassador in Dublin which was pretty special for us too. We’re growing things in Ireland at the moment and it’s a case of so far, so good.

 “We also like to keep up with what’s happening in the Irish music scene,” he concludes. “I remember when I first heard the Mighty Stef (who I absolutely love). I just thought-‘Fuck this, I’m giving up.’ People like him inspire me to make better music and hopefully we can bring him to the States with us someday. Artists like him deserve to be heard around the world.”

Don’t Judge The Judge

8 09 2011

I’m judging this tonight-

If you see me out and about this evening, come up and say ‘ello.

Backstage With The Batman

6 09 2011

Yes, this actually happened-

Here we are meeting the Dark Knight backstage at the o2 in London after the Batman Live show.Needless to say it was suitably awesome.

The Batman Live World Arena Tour comes to Ireland for a string of dates in a few weeks (the O2 in Dublin on Sep 28,29,30 and Oct 1 and the Odyssey, Belfast on October 5,6,7 and 8th) and it’s well worth checking out if you get the chance.I’ll post up a review of the show soon, but for now click on www.batmanlive.com for more details.