Cruachan - Pagan review
|Release date:||April 2004|
01. Michael Collins
03. The Gael
04. Ard ri na Heirann
05. March To Cluain Tairbh
06. Viking Slayer
07. 1014 AD
08. Some Say The Devil Is Dead
09. A Thousand Years
10. Lament For The Wild Geese
12. Summoning Of The Sidhe
13. The Fall Of Gondolin
Cruachan is back with a new full length, their fourth one so far. They're pretty know for mixing Irish Folk music with Heavy Metal, or a little something I like to call Folk Metal.
Yes, like it or not, Folk Metal is one of the leading sub-genres in Metal these days and labels around the world are focusing on exploiting the genre, mostly in countries that, like Ireland, have strong Folkloric traditions.
In their beginnings, Cruachan mixed all of these elements with Black Metal, but on later albums they left those influences behind to focus on Folk Metal per se. I'm glad to listen that in this new album, some of those past influences are back, because in some songs you can hear some good 'ol Black Metal shrieks.
The album starts with great Folk melodies, created by instruments like the bodhran, mandolin, bouzouki, banjo, Irish flutes, tin whistles, bombarde, Uilleann pipes, fiddles among others. "Michael Collins" mixes perfectly the great voice of Karen Gilligan with the aggressive vocals of Keith Fay, title track "Pagan" begins with some church choirs and is the fist song in the album to feature extreme vocals.
"The Gael" starts with a calm, romantic intro and then a violin opens the way so the song can turn into the Folk Metal masterpiece it is. One song that caught my attention was "Some Say The Devil Is Dead" a traditional Irish drinking song turned into Metal, I wish in all bars down here people sang such cheerful tunes.
The artwork of the album is exceptional, done by no other than John Howe, the artist behind the illustrations of Tolkien books.
My only complain with this album is that the production is not that tight, for a band that is established as one of the prime Folk Metal acts, the production that I expected was top-notch, but instead I got this production that leaves much to desire, and I can't understand why a respected band like this would overlook the productionů
Despite that minor problem, this is a must have for any fan of Folk Metal, the band really has matured as musicians, each composition is full of richness and creativity. If you're not familiar with the band, this album is a good way to start.
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