Artist: Cruachan
   Title: The Morrigan's Call
   Label: AFM Records

'The Morrigan’s Call' is the fifth release from Irish band Cruachan, who’s blend of traditional folk with the metal may seem to some like an unholy alliance, but this is what I like to call Celtic Metal and works strangely well.

The album opens up with ‘Shelob’ and straight away the traditional metalheads will think this is another brutal metal album, but then the vocals of Karen Gilligan and the rest of the band unleash the folk element on the unsuspecting listener, and thus Celtic Metal is born.  Think the Pogues meets Candlemass, meets Fairport Convention, strange but true.

After the initial shock of the opener you feel strangely drawn to this mix of traditional folk instruments like mandolin, fiddle and violin, with the more traditional hard edged metal guitars.  The album continues with ‘The Brown Bull Of Cooley’, a great example of how the two very different genres amalgamate to bring this unique sound.

The album brings in the very distinctive sound of the Irish flute and fiddles for the haunting ‘Coffin Ships’, a short but effective track.  Then it's back to the more traditional metal feel with ‘The Great Hunger’, with both the growling vocals of Keith Fay and the more angelic tones of Gilligan.

But as quick as you like the Pogues type tones of the short reel 'The Old Woman Of The Woods’ are back, then just as your getting back into the folk sound the tables are turned once again and it's back to the metal folk mix for ‘Ungoliant’.  This album will have you dancing an Irish jig one minute and then raising the horns and headbanging the next!

The band call on upon their Irish roots for the next track, the more traditional folk sounding ‘The Morrigan’s Call’, before it's back once more to the metal onslaught that is ‘Teir Abhaile Riu’.   I tell you this album will have you in a spin as it roller coasts it's way through the metal and folk tones like there is no tomorrow.

The band once more bring us an Irish reel, this time with ‘Wolfe Tone’, which once again mixes metal with folk.  This is before the band put their own spin on the Pogues classic with ‘The Very Wild Rover’, a version that I'm sure Shane McGowan would approve of.

With the album almost at a close it's time to pull out all the stops with the final two tracks.  Firstly ‘Cuchulainn’ which returns to the metal grunts and growls vocally, before Gilligan returns to the vocals for her most impressive vocal stint on the album, as she shows she can be as metal as the next man.

The album closes with ‘Diarmuid and Grainne’, a track that once again shows how the amalgamation of metal and folk can work well if done properly and on this album that is exactly what you get, a mix that works remarkably well and shows that if you have enough imagination anything is possible.

 

Tracklisting:

1. Shelob
2. The Brown Bull Of Cooley
3. Coffin Ships
4. The Great Hunger
5. The Old Woman In The Woods
6. Ungoliant
7. The Morrigan's Call
8. Teir Abhaile Riu
9. Wolfe Tone
10. The Very Wild Rover
11. Cuchulainn
12. Diarmuid And Grainne

                  

 

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