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All the videos! 

As you may (or may not) have noticed we've now got some great promo videos online for the album tracks! Most recently we had a great time pissing about in the woods for the song "Circus in the Clearing" which was really great fun and resulted in a very tongue-in-cheek style video which really makes us chuckle!

Check out all the vids via the playlist below and share them to your heart's content!



Release Date & Video 

Well well then!! The Album now has an official release date! Put it in your calendar folks... 20th October 2014!
On this date the album will be shipped out to everyone who has nicely pre-ordered the CD - thanks for everyone who has done so far - if you haven't yet there's still time to do so over at the store!

As of the 13th September you'll also be able to digitally pre-order the album on iTunes - as a little incentive (and for those people who can't wait) you'll get an instant gratification track -"The Circus in the Clearing (including the Fanfare for the King's Tournament)! Which is nice... that pops into your iTunes straight away for you to enjoy and the rest of the album will automatically arrive on 20/10/14.

On the subject of "Circus in the Clearing" - we shot a video for that song which we are currently editing and should be out soon... it's a really fun vid that we shot in Nortumberland and has some great moments in!

But wait - there's more! We've also released a little montage video for the track "Gardens of the Lost" which you can find on youtube now - it's really nice song where Melissa sings lead vocals right the way through and has Troy Donockley on the Whistles!


Cheers, Dean


Song Samples 

Now then you crafty sausages! 

We've uploaded some song snippets to the Forest of Fey album page - just a few little clips that are not necessarily in the album running order!

Hopefully this will help whet your appetite - and encourage a few more people to pre-order the I've stated before we really appreciate the support from everyone pre-ordering the record and it makes our live's soooo much easier! Basically you guys are funding the record - and you're doing a great job already!

The album samples are also available via a soundcloud widget (below) in case anyone wants to share the samples via social media or embed them on their site (go right ahead that would be very kind of you!)

Can anyone spot any of the guest musicians hidden in there?


Album Title, Tracklist and Artwork Revealed 

UK Progressive rock outfit Gandalf’s Fist has revealed the concept, album title, tracklist and artwork for their follow-up to 2013’s acclaimed record “A Day in the Life of a Universal Wanderer”.

“A Forest of Fey” will be the first release by the band as a four-piece and follows the psychedelic, folk-tinged journey of a young girl trapped in a malevolent woodland and features guest contributions from Troy Donockley (Nightwish), John Mitchell (It Bites/Arena), Dave Oberlé (Gryphon), Clive Nolan (Pendragon/Arena) and Matt Stevens (Instrumental Artist/The Fierce and the Dead).

The bespoke Album art was created by German Artist Thomas Huth and the record is slated for an autumn release. 

The album is also now available to PRE-ORDER via our Store - this allows us to keep things "in-house" and avoids us having to go through labels and third-party 'funding' sites so we really appreciate your support in this way!

Hopefully will have some samples up soon too! 



A Forest of Fey Track-list:

1. Childhood Ghosts
2. Gardens of the Lost  *Featuring Troy Donockley (Tin Whistles, Low Whistle)
3. A Forest of Fey    *Featuring Troy Donockley (Low Whistles)
(Including Wisdom of the Reptile and the Lament for a Silent Verse) 
4. The Figure Speaks
5. The World We Created    
6. The Circus in the Clearing  *Featuring Troy Donockley (Cumbrian Bouzouki)
(Including the Fanfare for the King’s Tournament)
7. Blood for a Royal Pardon    *Featuring Troy Donockley (Tin Whistle)
8. Drifter on the Edge of Time    *Featuring Clive Nolan (Keys) & Matt Stevens (Ambient Intro Guitar)
9. Forest Rose (Coming Home)
10. Return from the Tournament    *Featuring Troy Donockley (Cumbrian Bouzouki) and Dave Oberlé (Vocals & Bodhran) 
11. Stories Old and Stories Told 
(Of Children Brave and Children Bold)    *Featuring John Mitchell (Vocals) & Matt Stevens (Ambient Intro Guitar)
12. A Poison Tree

Matt Stevens Joins the Ensemble 

We’re delighted to announce that acclaimed instrumental guitarist Matt Stevens will be bringing some virtuoso nuances to the upcoming record! With trademark looping pedal in tow Matt’s playing really adds an extra layer and dimension to the tracks!

Matt Stevens is a critically acclaimed solo artist from North London, also known for his work with The Fierce And The Dead. An instrumental artist, he uses an acoustic guitar and a loop pedal. He recently signed to Esoteric/Cherry Red records for the release of the album Lucid which features members of King Crimson, Knifeworld, Chrome Hoof and Frost*. He was nominated for a Breakthrough Artist Prog award in 2014 and is toured Europe as support to Tim Bowness.

Matt has played on a two of the tracks on the upcoming album, contributing some ambience and textured effects to the intros on a couple of the more 'spacier' tracks on the album - his playing really is in-sync with what our sound is all about and the results sound great!

Check out the video below for some samples of Matt's playing from his fantastic album "Lucid"!

Big news coming soon.....


Lyrical Musings 

Lyrics have been a lot of fun to work on in the case of the upcoming album – either collaboratively or on my own.

In the case of the latter, I have found that the combination of the tracks we’ve been writing and the 'theme' of this record have just leant themselves to the kind of lyric that is, you know, just a blast to write! I’m an English literature graduate and teacher -  I like to muck about with phraseology and try and paint a  mental picture with our songs and this has been so easy to do this time!

The lyrical content of the new record has it's roots in the natural and the psychedelic - with much of the inspiration taking place from strolls through the stunning woodlands and forests of Britian (no doubt evident from some of the more recent promo shots!) and going into things there was the slight feeling of having to step up to the plate given the esteemed guest musicians we've got taking part on the new record!

I’ve always drawn much inspiration from Peter Sinfield – as evident from the song ‘Council of Anderson’ from our ‘Road to Darkness’ album - and I think that kind of style definitely comes to the fore on this record… not least as Luke’s contributions to the process are now as a lyricist much more than any point previously.

In the case of the former – it really is a natural process writing lyrics with Luke. Very rarely Luke will come to me with a finished song and I’ll aid in composing the music to his words – ‘The Unforgiving Sea’ from ‘Songs from the Solway’ being a good example of this – and on the upcoming record there is indeed one such song.  It’s a really interesting track in free-verse with some excellent lyrics and a catchy female vocal on the chorus – this is the also track on the album where Luke pokes his head above the songwriting parapet to put his lead vocal down.
Luke’s additional vocals add great contrast to a lot of the songs that I write but there’s usually at least one on every album where the song just screams “this one’s for Luke’s lead vocal”… Council of Anderson, Gathering of the Clouds and Nexus being prime examples!

More oft than not though we will sit down and work out the lyrics whilst we’re recording vocals. I’ll usually have nailed down a chorus by this point as well as the verse melody and we’ll just keep playing the track back and fire lines at the damn thing and tell each other when something sounds shit… we then swap our respective producer hats and Luke will try and get some good takes out of me (an oft-labored process but ‘one-take-Marsh’ has sometimes happened!)

We like to keep the concept in mind at this stage and usually this is the point in the recording process that the ‘story’ of the record will really get ironed out. This time round we’ve got a number of characters to play which has been curious when discussing lyrics; “Nah – he wouldn’t say that…” etc!

As we now live quite a distance from each other sometimes Luke will email me his lyric ideas for a track and I’ll try and weave them into my own ideas (sometimes completely bastardising them as I can be known to change a vocal melody at a whim).

It’s really nice to know that we never struggle to come up with ideas for songs – indeed, there is a 30 minute orchestral suite that we cut from ‘Road to Darkness’ called ‘The Man Behind the Curtain’ and a couple of tracks from last year’s ‘A Day in the Life of a Universal Wanderer’, that as good as they were, didn’t seem to fit in the ‘flow’ of the record to our ears. This record is no different  - we’ve got a stockpile songs that we’re leaving for next time, not least some works in progress from Stefan and Chris!

Sounds like we’re in a good place for next year’s record already! (let’s get this one out of the way first!)
More news soon!


Pendragon's Clive Nolan to add some Synth Wizardry!

I recently wrote a short piece for Malcolm Dome summing up my appreciation for Pendragon’s first album ‘The Jewel’ in an issue of ‘Prog’ Magazine. Which was a great privilege... unfortunately for a non-celebrity such as myself, literary stardom was not forthcoming since they accidently used a picture of Luke instead of me:

No matter. What was important is the high regard in which I held that album – but for me one of the greatest things to happen to Pendragon was Clive Nolan to join in 1986 and remain the keyboard mainstay ever since then.

Clive, also plays in the fantastic ‘Arena’ with other album contributor John Mitchell and has also played with Shadowland, Strangers on a train, Oliver Wakeman as well as guest appearances with the like of Ayreon, Dragonforce, John Wetton… and now Gandalf’s Fist!

I’m overjoyed with Clive’s contributions to the record he has been awarded Classic Rock Society Best Keyboard Player award in the years: 1995, 1996, 1998, 2005, 2009, 2010 and 2011 – and you can see why – he really did know instinctively what to do with the track we worked on!

Clive really is a sound bloke – as well as adding some texture and atmosphere to the track in question (which is probably the most ‘space rock’ song on the album) he put down an amazing synth solo that soars through the closing stages of the track.

Can’t wait for everyone to hear these collaborations – it’s really taken the project to the next level!!

Also, please show your support by going to see Clive’s latest musical ‘Alchemy’ – see you there!



Another Guest Vocalist - John Mitchell 

In West Cumbria everyone talks about It Bites – the fact that they were originally from Egremont and usually someone in the pub knows at least one member of the band.

For me,  John Mitchell’s introduction to the band was perfect – I think the records they’ve released since then are really in tune with my tastes, and incidentally, I think that Francis Dunnery’s solo work since then has been exemplary – so best of both words, but hey that’s just my opinion!

So  - I’m absolutely over the moon that John has been able to strut his stuff on this new Gandalf’s Fist record – I really liked the last It Bites record, I mean REALLY liked it - and his stuff with Arena is well… awesome!

Putting aside his guitar skills, John has contributed lead vocals to what I would surmise will be the closing track on the album – and let me tell you, it sounds great! The track itself is quite melancholic with a sort of Floyd-meets-Queen-meets-Genesis kinda vibe before switching into hard rock via a folk interlude... nice!

Lyrically, the track ties up the ‘story’ of the album to its conclusion as well as carrying a bit of baggage from my recent visit to my childhood home – as such, a fine balance between power and emotion was required on this one and John has managed to do that with aplomb - and he's a canny bloke to boot!

Final mixing is drawing nearer so I’m hoping we’ll have some samples for everyone to listen to soon!


Drum and Bass! 


So, while Luke decided to do an improvised musical number with UK comedian Ross Noble (in the sprawling arena that is Newcastle international airport - don't ask).  Everyone else knuckled down and got some real work done…

Chris and Stefan have been hard at work rehearsing those rhythm sections and have now nailed down the final grooves for what will be their official Gandalf’s Fist debut as full time members!

It was great to have Chris down for the weekend putting the finishing touches to the bass sections – it gave us time to reflect on some additional compositions and, as expected, resulted in us cranking up the ‘rock’ on this record… tenfold.

So now it’s all done – drums and bass in the bag! There’s been some great drumming from Stefan especially on the longest track on the album… there’s some sections in there that sound like either:
  1. He is half-man-half-octopus
  2.  His arms are about to fall off
  3.  All of the above.
Personally, I’m going with option ‘C’.
I really am pushing on now with guitars and vocals… there are one or two lyrical pieces to tie up too!
I'd wager we've got maybe 3-4 tracks that are 96% done and ready to master and the others are well on their way! 

The guys are sounding on top form - we can't wait to release this one to the world!!


Troy Donockley - Master of the Whistles! 

It's fantastic that we've been able to announce that playing the bouzouki, whistles and low whistle on a number of tracks is  multi-instrumentalist Troy Donockley.

I've been a great admirer of Troy's work for a while, not only with his band "The Bad Shepherds", but also the amazingly atmospheric session work he's done with the likes of Mostly Autumn and Nightwish (of which he is now a full-time member).

In the past Troy has played with the likes of Maddy Prior, Barbara Dickson, Roy Harper, Magenta and Ayreon to name but a few! Movie buffs will also probably recognise him on the soundtracks to 2010's Robin Hood and 2011's Ironclad.... and now you will be able to hear him on the upcoming Gandalf's Fist record! Brilliant!

Troy was actually born in Workington, West Cumbria, a stones-throw away from my own upbringing - and the stomping ground for many a fateful evening over the years! He is a properly sound bloke and it truly has been a pleasure to work with him! 

For our recent press release, Troy commented: "I was delighted to be asked. It's great to see some honest progressive rock coming from British West Cumbria!"  - and I have to say the feeling is mutual - we're delighted that he accepted!

Troy has performed some great parts for the record using his one-of -a-kind low whistle which really has a trademark and haunting sound all of it's own... goosebumps! As well as this he also performs the Cumbrian Bouzouki (yes there is such a thing!) on a very special track which also features Dave Oberlé from Gryphon (talk about a prog/folk supergroup right there!!)

Looking forward to showing off what we've come up with, in the meantime check out Troy performing with Nightwish in the clip below & make sure you check out his brilliant solo albums via his website!



Gryphon's Dave Oberlé adds to the Cast! 

Dave and Dean

Well, well well. if you thought that me and Luke were the only two blokes that were going to go all folky on a Gandalf's Fist record you were sadly mistaken!

It's with great pleasure that I can announce that Dave Oberlé, vocalist and drummer for 70's Prog/Folk band Gryphon will be appearing on the new album!

As a Gryphon fan this was a bit of a treat - We'd recorded a folk section featuring Troy Donockley on the bouzouki and thought Dave's vocal style would be a perfect match... and we were right!

Dave came up and recorded his parts whilst Chris and I were tracking his bass sections, which was a good laugh - Dave is an absolute gent and had many a tale to tell... he didn't even complain about Chris' incessant questioning (or even question why he was dressed as the man from del monte wearing a home-made AC/DC t-shirt for that matter!)

The track Dave features on is quite a sad and melancholic piece that, as it stands, will probably be the penultimate track on the album... it's a cool little number that draws a thematic motif, that carries throughout the record, to it's final conclusion!

Afterwards, this is what Dave had to say about the experience:

"I was delighted when Dean approached me to play a small part in the recording of this album. Having listened to previous Gandalf's Fist albums I had been very impressed with the standard of musicianship, composition and production. I tend to be rather selective these days about what projects I get involved in but this is most certainly a band to watch out for."

Which was very kind of him to say so!

As well as laying down some vocal tracks Dave is also plays the bodhran on the album - which again, has really added something to the mix. I suppose it appeals to the Irish Blood in me but I think it's a great sounding percussion instrument and has given a bit of 'gusto' to the intro to the track! 

Dave meets Chris Ewen: Master of style.

If you're not familiar with Gryphon (well you bloody-well should be) they were a really great, unique band that used traditional medieval-style instruments such as Crumhorns in their music... perfect! I could go on for ages but Wikipedia is your friend.

My out and out favourite track has always been their version of "The Unquiet Grave" - a traditional folk song about a young man mourning the loss of his love... Check it out below - great haunting Vocals from Dave and an atmosphere in this track that is like nothing else!


More news soon!




New Gandalf’s Fist Album to Feature Members of Nightwish, It Bites, Gryphon, Pendragon & More 



Earlier this year, UK purveyors of Medieval Space Rock – Gandalf’s Fist, announced that work had begun on the follow up to last year’s “A Day in the Life of a Universal Wanderer” - the album which received critically high praise with Prog/Classic Rock Magazine’s Geoff Barton voting it in his Critic’s Choice list for 2013.
But what may be as equally exciting as news of this year’s successor, a seemingly fantastical, forest-themed piece, is the announcement surrounding the guest appearances that are lined up for the record.
Besides mainstays Dean Marsh and Luke Severn (coupled with new members Chris Ewen and Stefan Hepe), the album will feature contributions from Nightwish's Troy Donockley; Gryphon's Dave Oberlé; It Bites’ John Mitchell and fellow Arena sparring partner and Pendragon keyboard supremo Clive Nolan. Also appearing will be the much-respected Instrumental guitarist Matt Stevens, whilst female vocalist Melissa Hollick, having recently performed the track ‘I Believe’ on the ending credits of Bethesda’s ‘Wolfenstein: The New Order’, reprises her duties from the previous record.
Gandalf’s Fist chief composer, Dean Marsh commented on the news: “I’m over the moon to announce these collaborations – each and every musician involved has really gone the extra mile with their contributions to this record… it feels great to welcome such an esteemed ensemble to the ridiculous world of Gandalf’s Fist - I really can’t wait to show everyone what we’ve come up with!
John Mitchell has been announced as providing the vocal to a powerful closing track to the album which can be described as a swashbuckling mix of Genesis and Queen, whilst on a separate track, Clive Nolan’s keyboard soloing drives home the Space-Rock credentials associated with Gandalf’s Fist.
Announced as playing the bouzouki, whistles and low whistle on a number of tracks, Nightwish/Bad Shepherds multi-instrumentalist Troy Donockley commented: "I was delighted to be asked. It's great to see some honest progressive rock coming from British West Cumbria!" 

Whilst drummer/singer from 70’s folk-prog heroes Gryphon, Dave Oberlé, who joins the ensemble on vocals and bodhrán, remarked: "I was delighted when Dean approached me to play a small part in the recording of this album. Having listened to previous Gandalf's fist albums I had been very impressed with the standard of musicianship, composition and production. I tend to be rather selective these days about what projects I get involved in but this is most certainly a band to watch out for."
In addition, critically acclaimed instrumental guitar wizard Matt Stevens will be bringing some virtuoso nuances to the upcoming record. With trademark looping pedal in tow, Matt’s playing really adds an extra layer and dimension to the tracks.
Gandalf’s Fist hopes to announce details of even more guests and further details surrounding the new album in the coming weeks, with a studio production blog now accessible via

Melissa Hollick to Return on Vocals

As some may be aware, Melissa appeared on the previous Gandalf's Fist record, A Day in the Life of a Universal Wanderer singing on the tracks "Somewhere beyond the Stars" and "The Wanderer Goes South".

Melissa’s singing has been described as being reminiscent of ‘the haunting vocals of Kate Bush with a delicate sprinkle of Karen Carpenter…she effortlessly soars to the dizzy heights of the top notes with the same dexterity as she reserves for the lower tones.’

Welcoming her back on this project has really been a no-brainer... she has a fantastic voice and really excels at bringing out the drama in our music, providing a great counter balance to Dean and Luke's warblings!

As we're really trying to create a continuous thread through the story we are trying to convey on this record, you can expect to hear Melissa at more frequent intervals - it really is sounding great already.. some of these choruses really SOAR!

Her latest achievement was singing on the ending credits of Bethesda’s ‘Wolfenstein: The New Order’ video game covering the Chris Isaak song, ‘I Believe’… Check out the video below!

How a Song is Born 

First Blog Entry from New Drummer Stefan Hepe
Right now, in the hot phase of writing new material for our coming album, I thought it could be interesting for you to know how we work...

...Hard at work.

Allow me to use a short production clip from the upcoming record as an example. More oft than not Dean comes up with an idea for a new song. He then sends me the basic guidance tracks, along with some track information (135 BPM, 4/4 in half-time feel, after 7 bars we get into a swinging part, etc). Those tracks usually contain Synth/Piano and/or guitar, sometimes accompanied to some basic drums, mixed together as a mp3 file. Along with this I also get a guide-track with the same content, only the drums are muted (that's what I use to record my stuff to). This is what such a track sounds like:

I then import those two tracks into my DAW (Cubase is my weapon of choice), set up the time signature- and tempo-tracks according to Dean's notes, and listen to his guidance drums (if there are any... sometimes he has something very specific in mind which I try to cover as best I can!)
And then I drum. And write. And drum. And change. :)

At the point I feel ready to record my ideas I record the drumtrack directly into my PC... When I'm satisfied, I check the note velocities, position, delete double-triggered notes and tidy up the whole drumtrack. We now have something that sounds like this:

Again, a mixdown of all audio (Deans Track(s) without drums plus my drums) is exported as mp3 and sent towards Dean. Once we both agree on overall mood, arrangement, drum rhythm and fills, I begin my part of mixing down: the drums. Using EQ, compression, reverb and some other nifty little tools (depending on the song), I'm then ready to do another mixdown - a stereo 48.000 kHz, 24 Bit Wave-Audio track of my drumming without anything else. It now sounds how I want my drums to sound like!! Here you are:

Then Dean and the rest of the band (Christopher, Luke) add their parts to the song, sometimes at this stage we also have guest-musicians who contribute to it.

Every now and then I get a new mix from "work in progress", which is really exciting. Comparing the soundfiles we began with until the final song, witnessing it grow - it's an unbeatable experience!

So, in our example-song I used here, I can also provide you with the current "work in progress" state, which currently sounds like this going into the vocal recording phase...

So - just a short, simple section...We've just finished the first part of vocal recordings for this track and it's starting to sound rather epic indeed!
More samples soon!


New Album Annouced! 

Song-writing begins, as always, by fashioning some rudimentary forest instruments...

AND SO IT BEGINS! Following the recent news that Chris Ewen and Stefan Hepe had been recruited to full-time members it's nice to get down to some serious recording business!

The wheels are in motion and things are well underway already but hopefully this blog will give you a little insight into what to expect!

Following the galaxy-spanning space rock of 'A Day in the Life of a Universal Wanderer' the concept around the new album is a bit more rooted on planet earth but nevertheless fantastical!

We've got some great guest musicians lined up too - and by 'great' what I actually mean is FAN-STONKING-TASTIC!!  Hopefully will bring you more news on them in the fullness of time!

More news soon!