Knowing of the growing fame for the likes of Mael Mordha, Cruachan and self-described “dark metallers” Primordial, Ireland seems to be gaining more notoriety for its share of “serious” folk metal bands. Though it is tempting to dismiss Celtachor as a band who are eager to catch the same boat as these names, doing so would ignore their place as an example of their country’s promising, underground metal scene.
‘In the Halls of Our Ancient Fathers‘ is the second demo release from the group, which implies a step closer towards the full potential that they are capable of as a strong band.
Musically, they are much closer to traditional heavy and black metal than they are to the folk metal genre – the melody guiding their intense guitar riffs hold more in common with traditional heavy metal, rather than traditional folk rhythms (in turn represented solely by a tin whistle that appears more as a trace on the record than a completely integrated part of it). This makes for a consistently sinister and serious atmosphere on the demo, amplified in turn by the near-live sound brought on through low sound production.
As with other Irish folk metal records before it, ‘In the Halls of Our Ancient Fathers‘ draws on Celtic myths – in this case, centering on the Irish race of gods known as the Tuatha Dé Danann. Opting to focus on the exploits of the legendary Lugh of the Long Hand, each track lays out chapter after chapter of his adventures up to his victory in battle.
It’s interesting to note that throughout the course of this demo, the songs are narrative verses being performed through frontman Stephen Roche’s rasped growls. Harsh vocals are typically tied in with emotional auras of desolation, anguish and nihilism in extreme metal, yet to combine this medium with lyrics written in the third person means that whatever empathy the listener may feel with the lyrics’ persona gets pushed aside so as not to tarnish too much the epic nature of the band’s source material. While on the one hand this does indeed lend a darker tone to these stories, on the other it would seem more fitting for Celtachor and Roche to take their chosen style to offer a more creative, lyrical take on ancient mythologies if just to match the tightness and strength of their songwriting.
At the same time, that the band’s passion for their subject and style of extreme metal runs strong on ‘In the Halls…‘ as their second demo is in itself suggests them to be a more than promising group.
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