Hell Is For Heroes
Hell Is For Heroes was spawned on a late summer in 2000, when old school friends Will McGonagle (Guitar), Thomas O'Donoghue (Guitar), James Fin Findlay (Bass), and Joe Birch (Drums) met Justin Schlosberg (Vocals) through a mutual friend. The band first hooked up in a pub in Camden, for a life affirming drinking session and to discuss musical similarities. The rest of the year was spent making random noises on an industrial estate in north Acton.
The next year, they performed their first gig at The Half Moon in Putney, and following further shows across the less salubrious spots of London, were invited to record a demo for EMI music publishing, which was to be released as their debut single on Superior Quality Recordings. It was a double A-side, featuring two songs, "Sick/Happy" and "Cut Down". The single caught the attention of national press and radio and also Chrysallis records, who signed the band in early 2001.
More recording and touring followed throughout 2001 with the band playing shows wherever and whenever in order to hone their craft. After numerous attempts at finding the right musical alchemy of musicians and producer, the band met with Pelle Henricsson and Eskil Lövström, (the Swedish duo behind The Shape of Punk To Come by Refused), after a show supporting Alien Ant Farm in London's Astoria 2 on September 11th 2001
The band and duo struck up an immediate rapport and following a month of pre-production in a dilapidated old farmhouse in Brighton, decamped to America for 3 months at the start of 2002 to work on their debut album.
The Neon Handshake was recorded in Los Angeles' legendary Sound City Studios and mastered in Umea Sweden in May 2002. The Band built up the profile of the record by releasing the singles I can Climb Mountains, Night Vision and You Drove Me To It, all of which received a positive response from alternative radio and received heavy rotation on MTV2. At the same time, the band were undertaking numerous gigs in support of bands such as Biffy Clyro and Papa Roach as well as playing festivals across the U.K. and Europe. The album was eventually released on 3rd February 2003 on Chrysalis records and peaked at number 16 in the U.K. charts. At the time, the record was warmly received by critics and fans alike. The album was subsequently voted Rock Sounds #1 album of the ear in 2003 and in 2005, readers of Kerrang! magazine voted The Neon Handshake the 58th best British rock album ever.
And so it is with this period in mind that the band decided to revisit the album in full, in February 2017, playing a tour in support of the album alongside other stalwarts of the British music scene of the early 2000's A and Vex Red
"Brimming with confidence, The Neon Handshake isn't just the most inspired, upbeat record you'll hear this year, it's one of the best British rock albums to ever hit the shelves." - BBC Music Review
"Britain's brightest musical hopes? You'd better believe it." - Rock Sound 9/10
"An album that rocks like a cast iron wrecking ball... equal parts fury and celebration, an emotionally fraught rollercoaster ride and the sound of a band searching for - and finding - its own voice." - Kerrang! 4/5
"This is an almighty racket. The Neon Handshake manages warmth and slickness without ever losing its capacity to inflict pain." - NME
"The most exhilarating band in the UK." - The Fly (live review - March 2003)
"Here lies the future of British Rock." - The Fly
Impressive debut... brilliantly produced... fusing dreamily soaring melodies with righteous bombastic riffage on the singles I Can Climb Mountains and You Drove Me To It. This years Hundred Reasons? That, and potentially much more - Q 4/5
"Genius name and kick ass album." - FHM
"Hell Is For Heroes lay down a challenge to other bands, daring them to be this good. Come and have a go if you think you're loud enough." - NME
"A remarkable debut, it provides a first rate platform for the future." - Music Week
"Once you've discovered this lot, you'll never want to play air guit
ar to anyone else." - Mizz 4/5
"Hell Is For Heroes are about to break into the mainstream with enough energy and fury to eclipse any rock band this year." - dotmusic 10/10
"Probably one of the debut albums of the year. It's almost certainly going to be one of the rock albums of the year. But more importantly, we've got a British band to take the Americans on at their own game. Catch them while you can." – dotmusic
Hell is For Heroes - The Neon Handshake
BSM 223 · Feb 2018