Cruachan – “Blood For The Blood God” (Trollzorn)
Formed in the early 90s as a black metal band, Cruachan have since evolved into a pagan / Irish folk metal band so it came as little surprise this year when they switched labels to be on one more dedicated to their style in Trollzorn. With heavy touring in Russia, Ukraine and Israel showing increasing demand for their music, 2015 is looking to be just as big with a European tour and festival dates already being planned. Now onto their 7th album in “Blood For The Blood God”, Cruachan’s music is steeped heavily in Celtic mythology as judging by song titles like ‘Crom Cruach’ (the worm god of ancient Ireland) and ‘Gae Bolga’ (the dreaded barbed spear of Celtic warriors), but equally Irish history in ‘The Rise of Brian Boru’ (an ancient Dalcassian prince who fought the Vikings to eventually become King of Munster), ‘The Sea Queen of Connaught’ (based on the 15th century Irish lady pirate Grace O’Malley) and ‘The Marching Song of Fiach Mac Hugh’ (derived from Irish folk song ‘Follow Me Up To Carlow’ celebrating the defeat of 3,000 English soldiers by Fiach Mac Aodh Ó Broin at the Battle of Glenmalure). As such Cruachan’s brand of folk metal goes beyond beautiful valleys of flying dragons and mead drinking hobbits into Ireland’s dark, pagan past but equally its bloody history. Needless to say the music richly reflects all this poignantly from the deep historically based lyrics to the stirring, epic feel of the songs. This is one of the most powerfully atmospheric albums I’ve heard in long while and it’s clear a lot of time, effort and most of all passion has gone into the composing of the material that heartily reflects each subject. From the hoarse war cries of Keith Fay and blast beats reflecting intense battle sequences to the intelligent use of traditional instruments like bagpipes, mandolin, bodhrán along with flutes and violins for the more emotional moments you literally feel like you there in person experiencing mythological history thanks to unbridled power of Cruachan’s music. With superior production almost taking this masterpiece into film score territory, now is the time for these Dubliners in the battle that goes on!