Ireland’s emerging metal scene is set to receive a steel-toecapped kick in the behind this year with the arrival of Celbridge, County Kildare three-piece Dead Label, whose ferocious blend of old-school influences and modern metal precision sees them take up the challenge set by their countrymen Gama Bomb and English headbangers Evile.
You think you’ve heard metal played fast and hard? Think again. Dead Label’s new album Sense Of Slaughter redefines the modern thrash metal template, with the advance single ‘Self-Immolation’ landing at Number 15 on the CMJ (Metal) Chart and receiving heavy radio and internet exposure in the UK, Europe, Stateside and Japan.
Dates with heavyweights Machine Head in 2012 have already established Dead Label’s reputation, boosted further by their crushing performance at the Oktoberfest Festival in Okinawa, Japan and the band are now poised to take the next step with their new home, Nuerra Records.
Make no mistake, Sense Of Slaughter is an album that will level audiences wherever Dead Label take it, with the visceral, pounding riffs of ‘Catchecism and ‘Enslavement’ and the intense riff-storms of ‘Raising The Veil’ and ‘Assume Nothing’ the perfect way into the band’s no-compromise ethos.
Incredibly, all this power comes from a trio. Daniel O’Grady (vocals and bass), Daniel Hall (guitar) and Claire Percival (drums) are on a mission to convert the masses, one pit at a time. “We wrote this album for ourselves, and no-one else,” says fast-fingered shredder Hall. His partner-in-crime, the band’s ‘other Dan’, adds: “The main theme of Sense Of Slaughter is anger: it’s a very pissed-off record, which backs up its title perfectly. I’m very proud of the songs on this album. We’ve been through a lot as a band – things that would split other bands up – and Sense Of Slaughter is a total middle finger to a lot of people that didn’t believe in us!”
The injustices of the modern world have fuelled Dead Label’s songwriting since their inception in 2008, asserts drummer Claire. She says: “We wrote a song called ‘Rest In Pieces’, which was originally called ‘Dead Label’. It was about Sophie Lancaster, the girl that got murdered for being a goth. Her death really hit home with us, so we took Dead Label as our band name. As for ‘Rest In Pieces’, it’s dedicated to her
Having lived close to each other in Celbridge since their school days, it made sense for the three metalheads to form a band. Then as now, it was thrash metal that linked them. As Claire recalls, “Metallica walked into my life and everything changed. My love for music became an obsession, and all I wanted was to be in Metallica. The first time I saw them, when the intro track ‘The Ecstasy Of Gold’ came on, I had an out-of-body experience. I’ve seen Metallica 10 times since then and I still feel the same every time I see them. They changed my life. I wasn’t going to stop until I got to do what they did, and I’ve worked hard to achieve that goal every day since.”
Once Dead Label was up and running, remembers O’Grady, it was an instant musical and creative fit, with a definite us-against-the-world vibe. “When the three of us write a song together,” says the singer, “it just gives me that feeling of ‘This is want I want to do with my life’. If I wasn’t in this band I would be a huge fan of Dead Label, because the music we write is the type of music I want to listen to.”
No band gets anywhere without serious road miles, of course, but Dead Label have earned their stripes and the respect of their fans, playing up and down their home country in places where less courageous metallers would fear to tread. Defeat has never been an option, insists Claire: “We have played everywhere in Ireland a million times. Dublin countless times, plus Kildare, Belfast , Limerick, Waterford , Cork and Galway – and that’s without counting a library in Longford, a school hall in County Offaly and an inn in Clonmel!” She adds, “We’ve played these places countless times, and it all led to the Machine Head support slots last year, which were a dream come true. Those gigs were the best time of my entire life. It was amazing, I was like a kid on crack!”
Nothing can stop Dead Label now. Irish dates in April will be followed by festival appearances, including the Aggressive Music Fest 2013 in the Czech Republic , but they’re just getting started. “We’re a live band,” says Claire. “We live to play live. We connect with our audience and we have an energetic show.
Let the slaughter begin…
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