Marc Leach – “Hail To The Geeks”


I have to admit I have heard very few instrumental albums in the last while, either they scarce, or I am looking in the wrong places for them. Two rock/metal musicians stand out for me when you looking at this type of album, one is Steve Vai and the other Joe Satriani, both kingsman of this genre in my books. So when I was giving, “Hail To The Geeks” to review, a must admit I dived in with some scepticism a bit, A, because I never heard of Marc Leach, and B, well to pull off an instrumental album, and make it sound great is not an easy task, for me it takes a whole next level of musicianship to pull off that. You telling a story through your music, and to draw the listener along without out lyrics in this age is no easy task. Then add the geek aspect to it, and you like ok am I suppose to take it seriously. I tell you this to be a geek and to be able to geek out is awesome. How that translates into an instrumental rock album well here goes…..

So here I was presented with the album, “Hail To The Geeks” by Northern Irishmen Marc Leach who wrote, performed, recorded, mixed and mastered all of it by himself. Marc himself is a highly regarded photographer on the Belfast music scene. “Hail To The Geeks is a record that is full of geeky references from Doctor Who to Metal Gear Solid, subjects which are close to Marc’s heart while keeping the music entirely instrumental. Marc is a self confessed geek and so naturally the out working of that and the geek kingdom of which he indulges in comes to the fore in “Hail To The Geeks” a sort of packaged music box of geekiness. He allows for the geekiness to flow through his musical ability yet one can gather the seriousness of influences of the likes of Devin Townsend and Steve Vai in the mix.

“Hail To The Geeks”, a Nerdy Anthem that sets the ball rolling, it’s a heavy track that reflects the geeky side of Marc (hence the gameboy sounds throughout). The song structure is good, and the composition moves through its movements with fluidity. At about 2 minutes 31 there is a great lead guitar that brings memories of Steve Vai to the fore. Overall a great song that drives from start to finish and within its movements able to keep the listener engaged and flying high the flag of geekdom.

As I said to write an instrumental album that rocks is not an easy thing, and often there is a lot of personalisms involved. “Free As One” is Marc homage of sorts to Steve Vai, the lead guitar work for me sings praise to the influence of Steve Vai on Marc. Marc said, “Wrote this one due to all the stuff that’s happening in the world; war, destruction etc. Plus I aimed it for people who get judged dressing up for comic cons, we shouldn’t let people bring us down so that’s why they dress up, to feel comfortable plus be with people the exact same way.” For me it starts off like one of those epic 80’s hair metal bands, great driving beat and lead guitar. Marc manages to keep that pace and lead guitar brilliance rocking throughout. I like how the movements even shift genre sometimes in Marc’s compositions, so you can get a bit of rock, hard rock and metal or in one track, and he knits that sound scape well together.

“Voices” is an old track of Marc’s, he wanted to create a track that was clean but broke the mould of his normal style. Rob Scallon from Youtube was his influence for this song. Its beautifully written piece; the guitar work is clean and precise. Again music to a large part speaks to the heart as much as it is an expression of the heart and this song succeeds on both parts. It’s almost contemplative in structure.

Whahaha I had to laugh at the title of the next song, “Fly Falkor Fly”. Falkor is the Luck Dragon from The Never Ending Story, and being a fan of the movie, I just fell in love with the song in a instant as my own geekiness stepped in, and imageries of the movie flashed past my eyes and the adventures Falkor and Atreyu had together. It embodies some of the characteristic tone set by the movie. I think Falkor and Atreyu would approve of this song if it was played for them. If they ever do a remake of the Never Ending Story, and somehow use this song in it, it was first said here that they should use it.

“Shadow Moses” is a piece of music that Marc says started it all, he loves the game, ‘Metal Gear Solid’, so he wrote a song that reflected both his love for the game, plus for the listener to feel like they are Snake. The songs brings a heavier landscape to the fore with a almost militant intro; Again another driving strong song.

“Lonely Space Traveller” For this song Marc wanted to close off the record with his love for Doctor Who (lol, the series I have just started watching myself from the very first episode). He wanted this piece to sound good and he hoped he achieved that. I think he did and I am sure if any one who enjoys the good Doctor and his strange adventures would sincerely appreciate this homage to him. Again Marc is able to shove a lot into one song, and knit together as a tightly sown package. “Lonely Space Traveller” is one of my favourites on the album, and I like the various movements of the composition.

In total I think Marc has managed to pull off a serious instrumental album with some tongue and cheek geekiness. Which in itself I see as being almost impossible to do, but he has done well here in achieving that. I would be proud of, “Hail To The Geeks”, it’s a great effort. In some way I think you have to be a Geek to understand some of the song titles, but that to me is part of the entertainment, attraction and appeal of the album for me. With an instrumental album it paints a landscape, or should paint a landscape for escapism and I think this album succeeds at that. GEEK APPROVED.

Rating: 8/10

Written by Donovan de Necker

1. Hail To The Geeks
2. Free As One
3. Voices
4. Fly Falkor Fly
5. Shadow Moses
6. Lonely Space Traveller

Band Member:
Marc Leach: All Instruments

‘Light In The Dark’ EP (2016)
‘Hail To The Geeks’ EP (2017)

Record Label: Independent, May 2017

Weblinks: Twitter /  Facebook Instagram / Bandcamp / Soundcloud

Buy the album here:
Holland: First Paradox
Norway: Nordic Mission

Video for ‘Free As One’


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