Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cruachan-Blood on the Black Robe

Candlelight Records 2011

On paper the combination of black metal, folk metal and Irish music seems odd at best to me. What is it then about Ireland's Cruachan that is so magical? On album number six the band- Keith Fay (vocals/keyboards/bodhran/bouzouki/mandolin/percussion), John “Fay” O’Fathaign (tin whistle/flute), John Ryan (violin/banjo/bouzouki), John Clohessy (bass) and Colin Purcell (drums/percussion) create a sound that should appeal not only to the metal audience but those embracing Celtic folk rock. Well, maybe that is a stretch as "I am the Warrior" and "The Column" are heavy enough to stop a charging Nessie. "They Kingdom Comes" has metal riffs that remind me of Carcass's Swansong (in fact Keith Fray sounds like Jeffrey Walker at times). "An Bean Sidhe" features guest vocals from ex-member Karen Gilligan (she actually sings on three songs on the disc) and is quite lovely. The title track is one of the albums better numbers. It's also one of the few tracks where black metal vocals don't come into play. Instead there is a cleaner heavy metal voice which works really well. Really there wasn't a song on this album I didn't care for. My only complaint would be that while the folk and Irish music parts are exceptional the actual metal riffs sound an awful lot alike on several songs. While the metal might be taking a backseat with Cruachan I would have really loved Blood on the Black Robe if they invested as much time on it as the Celtic influences. That said though this should be a big hit with the now popular pagan/viking/folk metal genre and all those crazy kids who embrace it!


Blogger The Klepto said...

I like folk metal and all that but I saw these guys live (with Alestorm and Tyr) and they didn't strike me as much. Live they came off as more folk/death then anything black. Couldn't get into it. That and the only 'folk' I got from their music (at least live) was their instrumental rendition of the traditional "Loch Lomond/Bonny" (depending on who is talking). I was in the front row belting out the lyrics and everyone was staring at me like I was crazy (I'm proud of my heritage). After seeing them live I wasn't too keen on their albums

12:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cruachan have never played with Tyr or Alestorm, you are thinking of someone else, maybe the trad Cruachan from scotland????

3:10 PM  
Blogger The Klepto said...

Anonymous you are correct, I have erred in an embarrassing fashion. I was thinking of Suidakra, not Cruachan. I love Cruachan, especially their more modern albums.
After having my eyes opened I am more appreciative of this review, and will have to check out their newest release.
I feel like a right old fool.

3:47 PM  
Blogger twila said...

listening to this right now ,just got it today and i think it's maybe the best one yet IMO

2:40 PM  

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