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World Music CD Reviews Celtic & Irish

Cruachan

By Phil Freeman
Published October 5, 2007

The Morrigan’s Call
Candlelight

Like folk music, metal is the life-soundtrack of a tightly knit community, so it’s not surprising that metal bands in various countries have lately been blending the amp-frying guitars and thunderous drums of their genre with the native traditional sounds their parents and grandparents heard and played. The Irish band Cruachan has been doing this for some time The Morrigan’s Call is its fourth, and most accomplished album. The group’s originals utilize both the imagery and the instrumentation of the Irish folk tradition—songs like “Cuchulainn” and “The Brown Bull Of Cooley” layer bodhran, banjo, mandolin, and tin whistle amid the thunderous double-kick drumming and roaring electric guitars, as the lyrics retell classic Celtic mythology. Vocal duties are divided between hoarse barking (from multi-instrumentalist and band founder Keith Fay) and Karen Gilligan, whose banshee wail perfectly suits both metal and the subject matter. If the recently reconstituted Pogues joined forces with Slayer, the result might be something almost as rocking as this album.