Everything you need to know about Irish hardcore quartet Bailer is portrayed in frontman Alex O’Leary’s summation: “If you like blistering, fast and heavy hardcore in a short burst, get stuck in!”
And, when he adds the three adjectives “Vicious, Snarling, Heft” to describe the band’s sound, we know we’re onto something pretty powerful.
The quartet have all been heavily involved in music since their teenage years. Bassist Dave is known all over Ireland for his various musical endeavours, Alex and guitarist Chris previously played in several groups together, while Sean has played drums in various bands too.
And as for how Bailer came to be, Alex tells us: “We got together after years of chancing it. Myself and Chris worked on a hardcore track together for fun back in 2014 and decided to take on a new project that would become Bailer. We instantly knew the shows were gonna be fun and I think that’’ what still drives us, creating relatable music that people can push and jump on their mates to.”
The band has since honed a hard-hitting sound that’s seen them earn rave reviews and perform alongside the likes of Norma Jean and Employed To Serve.
And, on that sound, Alex elaborates further: “You know that feeling of rage when people walk really slow in front of you in the street and make it impossible for you to overtake them? It’s basically the sonic equivalent of that in heavy metallic hardcore format.”
The band released their self-titled EP last month and it packs the trademark Bailer punch right from the off with the intense wall of high-pitched guitars, slamming cymbals and screamed vocals that open up and remain throughout Lying For A Living.
Tuesday Blues launches into an awesome lower guitar riff that continues through to a bass break, then jumps back into another smash of the repeating riff under huge screamed vocals. While Long Gone may well be the standout, most diverse track on the EP, with cool harmonic notes thrown into passages of chugging chords, and a cool guitar solo thrown into the middle of it.
Feel It More opens up with a wild, awesome guitar riff that continues under big screamed vocals. It eventually drops into a section of drawn out guitars as the relentlessly brutal screams continue, then streams of high-pitched guitars build towards a return of the opening riff amid screams of “You feel it too, You feel this too.”
And the EP closes out in trademark heavy manner, as Death Is A Reminder opens up with repeats of a delicious chugging riff that ends on a high note then continues through a verse of intense vocals and unrelenting cymbal smashes. Low-tuned chuggy riffs build the intensity through a section of huge bass drum, then a big bassline kicks in before another smash of huge riffs and vocals. Then a huge rolling riff drops out leaving a sole funky bass, then kicks back in and feeds into a wild section of crazed riffs and screamed vocals all held together with a mass of huge drums.
On the EP, Alex told us: “The response so far has been amazing. We feel we know exactly where we need to take this sound and going by the listeners’ response to the EP, they do too. It’s been really exciting. This release was a breeze in terms of how it came together. We were all on the same page including our engineer Aidan Cunningham.”
And he goes on to tell us their musical influences are largely formed by one band in particular, “Speaking for the lads I think Every Time I Die’s influence on us was pretty profound over the years. Banging album after banging album, it’s not hard to see why.” While their personal tastes range from hip-hop through to technical fast metal and basically anything well produced, full of feeling and deliciously heavy.
And in terms of his writing inspiration, Alex adds: It varies. A lot of the themes I explore can be related to my own struggles, to the state of the music industry, betrayal, mental health, dealing with aggression, death and the grieving process, to addiction. It all depends on what’s getting under my skin at the time or something a close one or loved one is dealing with. Chris writes gnarly aggressive riffs that complement whatever I’m writing about without even being aware of the theme at the time, so it’s pretty cool that way.”
Most of the Irish bands we’ve met so far have been indie or rock focused, and none have come anywhere near the brutality of Bailer. So we asked Alex for his thoughts on the country’s music scene and received a mini history lesson. He told us: “Ireland has actually had such a strange history of heavy acts. Strange because a lot of bands over the years have gone unnoticed or just faded away. Whether it be because the focus was always on other places, bands were simply overlooked or because the bands lost whatever fueled them is hard to say but we are certainly not the only heavy band to grace the Irish scene.
“Bands like Red Enemy, Frustration, Murdock, Fat Actress, Shogun Assassin, Ilenkus, Animator and Hero In Error are a few to mention that always inspired us through the years. Nowadays we have new bands still inspiring us and getting people excited about what might be around the corner. Worn Out, Axecatcher and God Alone personally have me buzzing for what’s next. Check them out!”
The band have just finished up a tour in Russia – yep, Russia – and upon their return have a couple of EP launch gigs at The Underground in Dublin tomorrow (9 March) then Roisin Dubh in Galway on Saturday (10 March). Looking further ahead, they’re playing at Fibber Magees in Dublin on 29 June then at Townlands Carnival in Cork on 22 July. More info on all of these is here.
And there’s plenty more to come from the lads, as Alex says: “There’s a lot more in the works but if we told you we’d have to kill you. We’re also really excited to get writing for our debut full length and we have some rage built up to release so watch this space!”