Rating:
8.5
Cruachan - Blood On The Black Robe
18 April 2011


01. To War
02. I Am Warrior
03. The Column
04. Thy Kingdom Gone
05. An Bean Sidhe
06. Blood On The Black Robe
07. Primeval Odium
08. The Voyage Of Bran
09. Brian Boru's March
10. Pagan Hate
11. The Nine Year War


Whenever I listen to Cruachan's music I get a little confused. Should I be banging my head or breaking out into a jig? Or perhaps both? In any case this album has plenty of opportunities for either.

Cruachan are one of the more familiar acts to grace us from the Emerald Isle, alongside fellow Folk metallers Primordial. While the band certainly has their own character this time around they've decided to inject some black metal influences into their music, having departed from such a style following their debut Tuatha Na Gael back in 1995.

There is no time to mourn the loss of Karen Gilligan who gave Cruachan their voice for nearly a decade. Keith Fay leads the charge this time, letting loose a torrent of anti-christian Pagan sentiment given a gritty vehemence in his harsh vocals and methodical guitar work. The folk elements within the music, while being an irreplaceable part of the band's sound, are backed by a simple yet effective tempo which drives the album on. The flow from the black metal laced riffery to these folk metal elements is well conceived, fueling some of their most efficient tracks in years. An album highlight is the melancholy and stunningly beautiful "An Bean Sidhe", surely one their finest pieces to date. The music seems to be given an aggressive edge which was absent from previous albums, such as in the thunderous "Thy Kingdom Gone" or the heated "Pagan Hate", with frenetic drumwork giving them a vicious bite. Yet all tracks are well fitted with the Celtic folk elements that are part of Cruachan's charm. They are laced effectively throughout, not ruling the roost, so to speak, but giving the aggression some well needed tempering.

What is most effective about the album is the switching between the folk elements taking precedence in one track and then falling into place behind a wall of Pagan metal in the next. Some tracks mix these two expertly, such as "The Voyage Of Bran", another standout. The Pagan riffery, whilst being clearly well practiced is nothing particularly exceptional, however, but the manner in which it is used makes for a very enjoyable listen.

Fans of folk metal should find much to like about this album, particularly those who like a subtle black metal influence about it. But for metalheads in general Cruachan are truly one of a kind, and this album is one of their finest.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 8


Band profile: Cruachan
Album: Blood On The Black Robe


 


written by R'Vannith | 06.02.2012


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



Comments

‹‹ Back to the Reviews
Comments: 2  
Users visited: 31  
Search this topic:  


Ernis - 06.02.2012 at 21:05  
Nice review. Then again, they have shifted towards a more black metal sounding style with this album and this has made the release less intriguing for me. I've listened to it but it doesn't have the same feeling as their older releases. They've sounded more extreme on their very first release but at the same time the folk melodies were also more prominent. "I Am Warrior" is a bit cheesy and bland for my taste. But it's just my own view because I don't like "black metal cheese" that much any more. More melodic approach would make it better. I also have to admit that exploiting the "noble pagans against evil Christians" topic is too cheap for me. Tyr went the same way and it was a decline after their glorious releases that had great poetry in the native language of their country.
R'Vannith - 07.02.2012 at 00:07  
Written by Ernis on 06.02.2012 at 21:05

Nice review. Then again, they have shifted towards a more black metal sounding style with this album and this has made the release less intriguing for me. I've listened to it but it doesn't have the same feeling as their older releases. They've sounded more extreme on their very first release but at the same time the folk melodies were also more prominent. "I Am Warrior" is a bit cheesy and bland for my taste. But it's just my own view because I don't like "black metal cheese" that much any more. More melodic approach would make it better. I also have to admit that exploiting the "noble pagans against evil Christians" topic is too cheap for me. Tyr went the same way and it was a decline after their glorious releases that had great poetry in the native language of their country.


Yeah it's definitely got a different feel to it, I quite like this approach though it gives it a bit of well needed aggression I think. This fits the theme but I would agree, it is a bit overdone. That said I think they make use of it well, occasionally cheesy but overall fitting their turn to the black metal side of things.
I haven't heard much of the earlier Tyr, mostly their more recent material, I should give them more of a listen by the sounds of it.

Advertise on Metal Storm


Login or register to post here.



Similar topics

Forum Topic Similarity Started
Albums Cruachan - Blood On The Black Robe 9 19.04.2011 by R'Vannith
Reviews Words Of Farewell - The Black Wild Yonder 6 28.03.2014 by Rulatore
Reviews Beherit - The Oath Of Black Blood 5.5 28.09.2007 by NECURATU
Albums Blood Of The Black Owl - A Banishing Ritual 4.5 14.08.2014 by Boxcar Willy
Albums Blood Of The Black Owl - Spirit Canoe: Hailing Father Sky [EP] 4.5 16.11.2014 by Fearmeister



Hits total: 1598 | This month: 41