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The Outsiders of Ireland’s Heavy Underground

Abaddon Incarnate

The diversity in Ireland’s heavy underground belies the limited pool of musicians you’d expect from such a small country. That’s one of filmmaker John Mulvaney’s biggest takeaways while making his ongoing documentary series, Fractured. Long a presence on the fringes of Ireland’s multifaceted underground scene, Mulvaney became aware that a wealth of talent, new and veteran acts alike, was going unrecognized by the country at large. They deserved to be documented before they faded into memory, he thought.

Fractured has developed into a kind of oral history project, a record of underground musicians and their stories in their own words—stories that weren’t being told by the country’s more mainstream media. “Ireland has never been great at supporting these subgenres of music,” Mulvaney says. “There’s no radio play, and very few articles or reviews make it into printed magazines or papers.”

It’s a persistent struggle getting Irish people to engage with talent among their own. “There’s still a lack of support for extreme art, even from the people who are interested in it,” Mulvaney says, referencing the dwindling attendance at live shows. “I’ve spoken with a few musicians, especially in the punk scene, who believe things are far worse now, and that the idea of a ‘scene’ on a local level no longer exists.”

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