Cruachan is one of the first bands mixing Celtic music with extreme metal. They were formed in 1992 in Dublin of Ireland and at their first steps they were playing folk black metal. After the release of their debut album “Tuatha Na Gael” in 1995, the band became more “soft” and melodic, gradually removing extreme metal elements and brutal vocals. It took them 5 years to release their second album “The Middle Kingdom” and then they released 3 more albums till 2006 (one every two years). After that, Cruachan took a long break in discography and on April 18th 2011 their sixth full-length will be released. They have a record deal with Candlelight Records, preparing a powerful come-back!
With this new album the band promises a return to its extreme metal roots, reclaiming what they once created! After some listenings to “Black on the Black Robe” I can surely say that Cruachan kept their promise. It is by far their most extreme album since debut, but at the same time very different from it! Their lead female singer Karen has left the band, so this time most vocals are male brutal, with a few female folk parts and some clean male vocals (actually Karen participated as a guest vocalist in 3 songs). Their sound is much heavier and the production seriously improved. Of course the band keeps its characteristic Celtic tunes and traditional instruments, which have been its trademark all these years. Some times the folk elements are more dominant and the whole song structures are based on them (there are also a few instrumental tracks) and other times they make their appearance only in some parts of the songs. On the other hand their metal parts sound quite different this time. I think their music has sometimes a thrash metal (!) approach. Maybe it’s the sound or the vocals, but that’s the taste I get, especially in the first half of the album. In the second half they are closer to pagan folk black metal and they sound much better for my taste. Either way, all songs are different, something very positive, since they keep the listener always interested. Their is no need to mention what their lyrics are about; it’s more than obvious…
Overall “Black on the Black Robe” is a great album that will quench the thirst of Cruachan’s fans. I welcome their return to the “right” path and I hope they will continue this way, merging Celtic music with extreme metal. So far there are no samples from their new album, but I assume you will soon be able to get a taste in their official website, or on their myspace / Facebook pages.
Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos