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Hot New Band: Murdock

“The only rule that we ever put on ourselves, or ever will put on ourselves, is that nothing is too heavy and nothing is too quiet,” says Murdock frontman and guitarist Aiden Cunningham.

“So we could write a death metal riff, some weird, clean jazzy thing or whatever it might be, and that’s the only ethos that we follow.”

One listen, or in fact half a listen, to Murdock’s debut album, Dead Lung, should be evidence enough that this approach has in no way been compromised. One of the most inventive and eclectic albums of 2015 so far, it combines the kind of brutal, swerving time signatures that The Dillinger Escape Plan have made a career out of writing with the offbeat jazz and swing that early made 00s pioneers Candiria so exciting, and with a production that ranges from dirty, Entombed style death’n’roll rumble to Aphex Twin-like minimalism… sometimes within the blink of an eye. Where the hell did this all come from?

“The town we grew up in is a very middle class town in Ireland,” Aiden begins. “So there is no real scene there, save for a bunch of Thin Lizzy covers bands, so we had to get out of there and into the big cities. We thought the best way of doing that was by doing something totally original. It’s given us the mentality that nothing will be handed to us, so we know we have to kick and scream to get anything sent our way.”

So in a sense, the lack of a scene to cling to has been the making of Murdock. “Absolutely,” agrees Aiden. “In the beginning it was just me and Ronan [Nolan, drums] sitting in our living room making music with no outside influences. We would never think about how we were going to play the songs live. We decided to figure all that shit out later: how to record it, how to play it live. It’s made the live shows a hell of a challenge, but we all love a challenge!”

And can the heavier get heavier, and the quieter get quieter?

“Oh, definitely,” Aiden shoots back. “Nothing is off the table. The next album could sound like anything.” Which, on the evidence so far, is a scary thought.

Dead Lung is out now via Basick Records

Stephen Hill

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.