Celtachor – “Fiannaíocht” (Trollzorn)
Already impressed by Celtachor’s last release “Nuada Of The Silver Arm”, this 3rd studio album certainly doesn’t disappoint, whisking you off to magical, mythological lands through the deep music defined by blackened folk metal as well as ethereal melodies and ancient atmospheric soundscapes! Born just over a decade ago, part of Celtachor’s charm is that they haven’t been afraid to evolve, and indeed on “Fiannaíocht” there has been an enrichment of their sound through the addition of a new fiddler in Liam Henry, along with bassist Robert Macdomhnail who also plays the bouzouki and harp and together add to the band’s existing arsenal of whistles and bodhrans. Equally, vocalist Stephen Roche now sings in a powerful clean style alongside his more common blackened tones which adds all the more to the epic magic on show here across the 10 tracks. Continuing their theme of sagas, “Fiannaíocht” is about Finn of the Fianna (or Fionn mac Cumhaill or Finn Mac Cool) and as such, expect an album that mixes ambience, folk instrumentals and powerful, stirring warrior passion through unhurried, natural performances exuding both the talent of the musicians here, but equally their obvious passion in Irish mythology. A pleasure to listen to given its purity, songs like the 9 minute ‘Tuiren’ vividly contrast demonic rasps with soulful wailings and pagan violin melodies amid furious tribal drumming as the trance like effect builds, soaking up the rich sounds alongside the associated mythology as powerful guitars and more melodies finally close off the track. On the 6 minute ‘Caoilte’, a blackened folk groove is contrasted by heavy dark riffs and violin melodies amid double bass drum furor while male and female pagan harmonies wail in the background as Roche shouts out spoken words in truly epic splendour as Irish whistles play out the end. Really injecting the metal on the energetic ‘Cauldron Of Plenty’, Roche mixes his soulful wailings with a poetic spoken word mid song backed by the metallic clanging of the twin guitars before the demonic possession returns through Anaïs Chareyre’s aggressive drums finally culminating in a frenzied guitar close. As dramatic and heroic as their inspirational concept, Celtachor return once again with yet another epic masterpiece that will not leave you untouched.