Finally! Two long years have passed since I could enjoy the great sounds of the second album "The Middle Kingdom" for the first time and now they are back: CRUACHAN!
Who has read my review of the previous album knows that I have unconditionally fallen for this band and "Folk-Lore" doesn't change a thing about this. Still this band amalgamates Irish folk brilliantly with Metal, e-guitars meet Bouzouki, Mandolin, Banjo, Bodhrán, Irish Flute, Tin- and Low Whistle as well as the violin.
Within this they put great emphasis on variety, from rather measured compositions like "Death Of A Gael" or the previous single-track "Ride On" to more crunchy stuff like "Ossian's Return" or the re-recording of the "Tuatha Na Gael"-song "To Invoke The Horned God" (bonus-track of the DigiPak), which both bear the Folk Black Metal-past of the band in them still.
As highlights I personally would name "Bloody Sunday" with its very thoughtful lyrics and their interpretation of the traditional Irish song "Spancill Hill", while the rest of the songs almost reaches this high plateau of quality. On "Spancill Hill" and "Ride On" we get POGUES-fronter Shane MacGowan as guest-vocalist and his (dis-)ability of holding the notes he reminds me a little of the singer of German Punkers DIE TOTEN HOSEN, Campino, but this adds the right level of authenticity, I think.
The production also is very good, here, too, Shane has had his fingers in, and the cover once more is graced with one of the great paintings of flutist John O'Fathaigh, very moody and detailed, in combination with the nice DigiPak you really can talk about a complete package here.
Everybody always cries for originality in Metal, CRUACHAN have a lot of this, in great quality and I think that this might be just what makes many people shy away from their sound, because they just sound different than the rest and that is just what I love! Besides PRIMORDIAL for sure the best band of Ireland by far, in my opinion even The best!