The Morrigan's Call
posted on 9/2007 By:
This is the first time giving this band a listen so unfortunately I can’t review this album in context of their back catalogue. However, I can say that The Morrigan’s Call is a rather fine example of folk-infused metal. These Irish warriors incorporate all manner of traditional Celtic sounds (mandolin, banjo, tin whistle, Uilleann pipes etc.) into their highly polished, catchy metal anthems. The band has an extreme dynamic vocally with the black metal-style of Keith Fay alternating with Karen Gilligan’s clean folk singing. Cruachan’s blending of extreme metal and traditional Irish music can be very jarring upon first listen, but as this album unfolded I found myself being won over by the strong songwriting and passionate delivery. To top it all off, The Morrigan’s Call sounds great and the musicianship is impeccable throughout.
The first track on The Morrigan’s Call – a tribute to Tolkien’s great spider, “Shelob” – features the most outrageous juxtaposition of Cruachan’s two disparate styles. I was totally caught off guard by the opening speed metal and snarled vocals abruptly giving way to a flute-lead jig with Gilligan’s voice taking the reins. The crashing waves and wind pipe of “Coffin Ships” is the perfect introduction to the disc’s strongest track “The Great Hunger”, a slower, more somber number with the smoothest blending of the two vocalists and an emotive violin solo midway. While most of the songs on The Morrigan’s Call blend the metal and folk with diverse instrumentation, others are more distinct stylistically and give the album an even greater sense of dynamics. “The Old Lady In The Woods” (sung by Gilligan only), the title track (completely non-metallic) and “The Very Wild Rover” (a joyous sing-a-long), are the best examples of this.
The sheer variety of sounds, tempos and moods on The Morrigan’s Call is impressive. It has a diverse range musically and emotionally, and succeeds in meting down its various elements into strong, cohesive songs. Through them Cruachan create a thoroughly detailed and complete world that is a joy to explore. If you are a follower of folk metal or just a curious passer-by like me, give this album a listen.
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