- 25 Apr 18
Hot Press reviews the latest from Cruachan.
There is an array of metal bands across the globe that utilise celtic themes, imagery and costumes to aid in personification of their desired image. However, there are very few that incorporate this with such passion and sincerity as Cruachan. As the founders of Irish folk metal, they have created and defined their own genre of heavy music - and it is indisputably Irish. Their latest effort ‘Nine Years of Blood’ brings the listener through an odyssey of epic proportions, with a heavier and more energised sound.
The album’s opening tracks ‘I am Tuan’ and ‘Hugh O’Neill Earl of Tyrone’ immediately drops the listener into the frontline of a gaelic battle, with a mix of the traditional and the extreme. The latter of the two being a brilliant exposition of black metal infused with celtic lore. That’s not to say that the record is either one or the other in terms of intensity. There is a special balance between the heavier black metal inspired rhythms and celtic folk throughout ‘Nine Years’ - the bridge section of ‘Blood and Victory’ being a crowning example. The vocals stand out on tracks such as ‘Flight of the Earls’, with vocalist Keith Fay commanding the charge with his signature roars.
This record sees an improved mix then that of previous efforts such as ‘Blood on the Black Robe’ and ‘Pagan’, which greatly contributes to the relentless energy of ‘Nine Years’. The first half of the album in particular does not let up, with bodhrán tempoed ‘The Harp, The Lion, The Dragon and The Sword’ proving to be one of the record’s catchiest and unique numbers. Closing with an anthemic rendition of Christy Moore’s ‘Back Home in Derry’, the closing chapter in the collective’s ‘trilogy of blood’ is a powerful and exciting outing of majestic brutality. The flag for Irish metal is flying high with Cruachan.