Scene Report – Limerick, Ireland!
It’s been an interesting 12 months for the Limerick Metal scene, a period that has seen the opening of The Blind Pig (Limerick’s only dedicated rock bar and new home to the city’s metal scene); the bedding down of the Siege of Limerick in new home Dolans; and an unprecedented number of active Limerick bands gigging across the country, garnering slots with top notch international acts in the process. Currently at the forefront of the scene are promoter Bad Reputation Ireland (Siege of Limerick) and bands Dark Matter, Shardborne, Three Hour Ceasefire, and Zealot Cult, each of which took time recently to fill Molten’s Martin Mortell in on latest happenings and their plans for the rest of the year… [Photo Credit: Ken Coleman]
This year marks the Siege of Limerick promoter’s 5th anniversary, a landmark that will be celebrated with a gig in Limerick in August. The October bank holiday weekend will then, as has become tradition, see the increasingly popular Siege of Limerick take place in Dolans. More than twenty bands will be announced in the coming months and expectations will be high after last April’s event which saw Irish heroes Altar Of Plagues deliver a mesmerising set.
Since the 2010 release of their ‘Adrift’ EP, Dark Matter have been quietly going about the business of gigging non-stop, steadily building an appreciative and loyal listenership along the way. Unbowed by the departure for foreign shores of the band’s former bassist last year, new recruit Michael Lee was integrated quickly and the gigging continued. Personal highlights, says guitarist Eoin Crowley, have been “the opening night of The Blind Pig with Zealot Cult and Brigantia, playing a good slot to a good crowd at the last Siege of Limerick, and supporting A Pale Horse Named Death when they came through Dublin on their European tour”.
The band’s recent lull in gigging marks the beginning of a recording cycle that will see delivery of the band’s sophomore release, tentatively earmarked for an October release. Eoin explains:
“We’re heading up to Lakeland Studios in Athlone in August to record an album of nine songs. It’s actually gonna be recorded by Dave’s (drums) brother and we’ve already done a lot of work on the keys and synths, which we’ve already recorded in midi at home. The hope is to release it by October, which wil be exactly two years after ‘Adrift’ was recorded”.
Artwork for the release will be taken care of by Anais Chareyre of Celtachor, her brief being to compliment the apocalyptic themes running through the release’s nine songs, namely ‘Abstract State Machine’, ‘The Persistence of Memory’, ‘Gates of Salvation’, ‘Broken Mirrors’, ‘Reversion Therapy’, ‘Compression Syndrome’, ‘Nine Circles’, ‘Remembrance’, ‘Planetary Collapse’.
Instrumental Prog Metallers Shardborne have been flying high since the release of their ‘Aeonian Sequence’ EP in April of 2011. Released to instant acclaim from across the Irish independent music community, the EP’s broad appeal has served as a springboard for the band’s inclusion on a diverse range of live bills across the country. High profile opening slots with Russian Circles and Deafheaven in Limerick and Progressive Metal heroes Cynic in Dublin have been highlights and it is testament to the quality of their live performances that significant numbers of people turned up early on both occasions to catch Shardborne’s virtuoso sets.
After such a busy year it’s no surprise that the lads have seen fit to take a break over the summer, coinciding, incidentally, with bassist Cormac O’Farrell breaking a finger while loading out after a gig recently. Lead guitarist Eoin Culhane had this to say about the band’s short term plans:
“We’re taking a few months off from gigging to work on new material for our next release. It’s going well so far, but nothing specific’s been decided about the release yet. Aside from writing, we’ve plans for a few gigs in the UK later in the year”.
Most recently, drummer Ben Wanders emerged victorious in the Zildjian Drummer Love contest. Ben was selected for inclusion in the final of the competition by Porcupine Tree drummer Gavin Harrison and went on to win the Irish final by public vote. Congratulations Ben!
Three Hour Ceasefire
Having cemented a solid line-up over the past year, Three Hour Ceasefire spent the first half of 2012 writing and recording their debut EP entitled ‘Cry Havoc’. The CD and cassette release features six tracks and is released this summer through Belfast’s Savour Your Scene Records. Bassist Alan Lee spoke of the time leading up to the release:
“It’s taken us a good while to find a solid line-up and then to forge a cohesive sound, it seemed like we’d never get a CD out at times (laughs). It’s probably actually stood to us in the longer term though and being involved in a fairly healthy local scene and seeing the other bands release good material to good responses has definitely pushed us to do our best with this release.”
With recording complete, attention turns to gigging and the band hope to promote ‘Cry Havoc’ across the country and possibly further afield:
“We were fairly hungover, energy-wise, after the whole writing and recording process, but we’ve been lucky to play on some decent bills in Limerick, Dublin, and Cork since doing the CD and we’ve plans to head up to Belfast and back to Dublin again soon. There’s talk of heading over to Europe in the autumn too – a few gigs in Holland and maybe Belgium and Germany – but that all depends on how a couple of different things pan out in the meantime. Fingers crossed”, says Alan.
Like their compatriots Dark Matter and Shardborne, Zealot Cult have recently taken the foot off the gigging pedal with an eye to recording their sophomore EP this summer. The band’s debut EP, released in 2010 to high praise across the Irish DM community, led to enviable supports lots with the likes of Atheist, Hail Of Bullets, Decapitated, Cruciamentum, and Necros Christos – the highlight for guitarist Mick Carey being the Atheist gig:
“I’ve been listening to them since ’91 and was totally obsessed with the early Florida Death metal scene so to play with them was mindblowing”.
The band’s forthcoming EP will, once again, be a self-produced affair and is set to feature six tracks of violent Death Metal. Mick says of the band’s new material:
“We’re recording six tracks this July, a few of which we’ve been playing live more recently. We’ve taken some time to re-assess those songs and to sculpt them in a way that gives each song its own personality or ‘voice’. Stylistically, the new stuff is much more discordant with a lot of odd-sounding, atmospheric things going on. Overall I’d say it’s a lot darker sounding and really captures where we are musically at present.”
In line with the organic, DIY approach of the recording process, the band aren’t in a rush to set a track listing, EP title, or artwork in stone as of yet:
“We’re happy to let the project evolve by itself, things turn out better that way. The only thing that’s certain is that it’ll be dark”, says Mick with a smile.
It could be said that fans of truly old school, 70s-inspired Metal have been neglected in Limerick of late, but no more. New band No Mans Land have seen fit to address the city’s deficit in this regard and have hit the ground running since forming earlier this year having already notched up a slot at the Siege of Limerick and getting up to Dublin for the recent Mother Fuzzers Ball.
Finally, this year sees the return to action of Septica and Sinister Divide, both of whom can boast new and improved line-ups.
Words: Martin Mortell
Photo Credit: Ken Coleman
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