Even more so than with PRIMORDIAL my little trip down memory lane leaves me with a yearning in my blackened Metal-heart for the blackness that CRUACHAN have been missing with their latest two albums "The Middle Kingdom" and "Folk-Lore". "Tuatha Na Gael" was the debut-album from this Irish folk BLACK Metal-outfit and it shreds more than the rest of their albums!!!
"Tuatha Na Gael" is a wonderful genre hopping album full of twists turns and new surprises to greet the listener with each wonderful listen. The folky intro fools you into a sense of security, then the Metal follows with folk inspired Black Metal-riffs that cut through you, and helped by that awful production which Black Metal-greats like DARKTHRONE use to perfection leaves you dazed and confused, but in love and wanting more.
"The First Battle Of Moytura" kicks in and may sound boring with first listen, but with patience this will grow on you and soon you will fall in love as I did. The folky intros and Metal-loaded tracks will blow you away one by one, but for me I really fell in love when I reached "Tain Bo Cuailgne" with its DARKTHRONE-influenced riffing and vocals which would give way to some great whistle work and folky guitar for a while. Then it changes again with a very beautiful flute, tin whistle, synth and drums section which you can just relax to and listen to its harmony and tranquillity which is a sharp contrast with the Metal of earlier. The folky Metal will return after and lead into another DARKTHRONE-inspired section. This song is a masterpiece.
The folky instrumentals "I Am Tuan" and "Brian Boru" are well played and fit perfectly on the album bridging the gap between Metal and folk. I have only seen this done better in one place and that is WAYLANDER's "King Of The Fairies" off their "Reawakening Pride Once Lost"-debut.
CRUACHAN are like no other, the closest I can offer is PRIMORDIAL or GEASA, but they're again so different to those, but similar due to the Celtic folky influence found within. Overall this is an album you must experience and enjoy for yourself as nothing I can compare it to will suffice. It truly is a unique work of brutal AND beautiful music.
(Hammerheart re-released "Tuatha Na Gael" with two bonus-tracks in 2001!)