Finally the second album of Bran Barr is out. “Sidh” was recorded since 2006, but it took them 4 years to release it officially with a new label. So 10 years after their self-released debut album “Les Chroniques de Naerg” the French Celtic metallers are back with an amazing work! The band was formed in 1995 and they have many members in common with Nydvind, Aes Dana and Heol Telwen, as well as many similarities in their music.
I have to admit that this kind of folk black metal with many traditional instruments and arrangements is my favorite style of music. So maybe I am not too objective, but I find this album perfect. Traditional song structures and rhythms are seen through the prism of epic extreme metal and the result is simply mesmerizing. Kraban (Loïc Courtete) does an amazing work with the tin and low whistles and bombardes. He is also in the band Heol Telwen that released another masterpiece of the genre “An Deiz Ruz” in 2005. He also has the help of many guest musicians in bodhran, Uileann pipes, flutes, war pipes and other traditional instruments. Except for the enchanting melodic lines of the folk instruments that have the leading role in their music, the Celtic atmosphere of “Sidh” also penetrates the guitar riffs and drum rhythms. The vocals of Yoltar (also in Nydvind) are completing the magnitude of this album. He is great both in brutal and in epic clean ones with an excellent pagan Celtic touch…
There are 9 compositions (plus one bonus cover song of Stille Volk) of excellent epic Celtic black metal. Song structures are very complex and with a great variety in tempo. There are acoustic melodic parts, mid tempo epic passages and extreme folk black metal outbursts, keeping the listener interested all the time. After some spins, when you get more familiar with the songs, “Sidh” becomes really addictive. I couldn’t get it out of my cd player… The production of the album isn’t “polished” or “technically excellent”, but it has a more live feeling. It allows everything to be heard clearly and the folk instruments (that are more “in the front”) sound very natural. In other words it’s exactly the production this album needed. All compositions are amazing, full of brilliant melodies and great power. Lyrics (except for one song) are in English, dealing of course with Celtic themes. If I had to sum this review up with just a few words it would be: “when inspiration meets folk music and epic black metal…”
I am pretty sure that the best folk black metal album for 2010 is already out, since I don’t expect to listen to something better than Bran Barr very soon. Trollzorn released the album in a beautifully illustrated digipak, fitting perfectly with their music’s atmosphere. There is nothing more I could ask from an album of this genre, so in my opinion folk metal fans must buy it without second thoughts. If you are still skeptic though, you can visit their myspace and Facebook pages to get a taste.
Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos