Celtachor – ‘Nine Waves From the Shore’, Self-released; 2012

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A couple of years have passed since their last demo release and some line-up changes, and Dublin-based Celtachor have finally released their full-length debut, ‘Nine Waves From the Shore‘. While it doesn’t necessarily reinvent anything within the formula of extreme metal and Celtic folk melodies that’s been coming out of Ireland since the early 1990’s, the album in itself is testament to a young band becoming more focused and stronger in the early stages of their career.

The riffs are tighter, the drum syncopation more muscular (thanks to the addition of new drummer Anaïs Chareyre) and the traditional Irish folk side of Celtachor‘s sound has a more prominent role than previously, where it had largely been more as a trace on their demos.
Case in point, the tin whistle leaves a melancholic tune as it plays behind the raw, static tremolo of black metal notes on first track ‘The Landing of Amergin‘, whereas the following song ‘The Battle of Taitlin‘ opens up unexpectedly with the timed, solemn beats of the bodhran just before launching into the excited, frenzied notes of electric guitars. This pairing between traditional and modern music isn’t anything out of the ordinary as far as the microgenre of “extreme folk metal” is concerned, yet it often tends to be ignored as a contrast in its own right. By pitting the old against the (relatively) new, the band not only hold up the audience’s attention; they exploit it for their own means without a misstep out of place throughout the album.

Celtachor are not necessarily creating anything totally unique in their niche part of the Irish metal scene, the likes of Cruachan and Waylander come to mind, with their similar use of Celtic mythology and influences from second wave black metal; ‘Nine Waves...’ shows that they are sturdy enough to have a margin of difference apart from their aforementioned peers.

8/10

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