Celtachor - Nuada of the Silver Arm - (7/10)
Published on April 21, 2015
Ireland’s rich history in folk-influenced metal is legend, with bands such as Primordial, Cruachan, Waylander or Mael Mórdha having paved the way for the Emerald Isle’s reputation as a haven for high quality and originality heavy music. Speaking of Mael Mórdha, vocalist (and whistler) Stephen Roche joined said doom metal band last year, making the link to the specimen under the microscope here: Celtachor and their second full-length album Nuada of the Silver Arm.
With such bands’ footsteps to follow in is no small feat, though, especially if they are not just considered creme de la creme nationally, but also on an international level, and Celtachor are not trying to directly emulate any of these bands’ sound, but instead opt for a far more earthy approach, which makes the song material a lot less accessible than much of their compatriots. The folk influence is far less pronounced, while heavily borrowing from melodic black metal with some infusions of doom metal, with the Celticism mostly coming through the lyrics and the spirit that bears this defiant Irish edge.
“Arrival of the Tuatha” or epic “King Eochaid’s Fall” give a pretty good idea of what Nuada of the Silver Arm is about, proud, heavy and anything but preposterous, reminding more of the rough climate of the western shores than the rolling green hills of the island, painting a darker and gruffer picture of the Emerald Isle. Roche’s vocals are rougher than many of his colleagues, the music is less polished and clear, edgier and mostly staying away from the catchier melodies, as the title track or the pounding closer “Uaithne: The Dagda’s Harp” prove.
Despite a very sparing use of the typically Irish folk instruments, Nuada of the Silver Arm is decidedly Irish, standing proud and defiant, even though they more likely than not will not be able to enjoy the same kind of wider success of their countrymen. There is nothing flashy about the music, but it stands firmly rooted to the Irish soil, which gives it this cohesion of a tight unit, but at the same time it also has this dryness to its sound that will make more difficult to adhere to your brain cells, ultimately limiting the level of memorability and success it can achieve in the end.