Fresh from extolling the virtues of one Irish band, I now find myself excited by another. This time I’ll put my hands up and admit to not previously knowing of them. Again from Dublin (it must be something in the water…or the Guinness!) comes Blackened Folk Metal quartet Celtachor. Following in the footsteps of Mael Mordha, Waylander, and Cruachan, these fiery emerald isle denizens have their own savage take on the whole Folk Metal genre.
Before discussing the album musically, you need to understand that this is a self -financed self-released product. Why is this important? Well it is also self- produced by the band, so don’t expect high tech polished sounding perfection. That being said, although the production is never going to win awards (the vocals are way high in the mix and the bass guitars more than a touch too low!), the guys have made a truly credible stab at bringing a solid sound to the ‘table’ and should be commended for just that. Finally the album fails to flow as it should, due to the enormous gap between each song, (several seconds in each instance), which jars horribly over and over. Sorry, but it needs to be said!
Listening to this album for the first time, I immediately caught respectful ‘nods’ to Bathory, Immortal, Enslaved, and to classic Martin Walkyier era Skyclad (vocalist Stephen Roche definitely takes his cues from Mad Marty…which is no bad thing at all in case you are wondering!). The band are clearly trying to create the ‘cold’ Immortal type guitar atmospherics, but with a genuinely accessible edge and again, with a bigger budget, they might have succeeded… Guitarist David Quinn acquits himself honourably throughout the album, which is indubitably infused with Celtic identity, again due to the whistles and haunting keyboards keyboards (sparingly used) again, courtesy of Mr Roche. The rhythm team of Emile Quigley (bass guitars) and Padraic Farrelly (drums) are tight and proficiently solid, I imagine that as a complete unit, the band must be extremely intense in concert. Perhaps a slot on one of the smaller Bloodstock stages would serve as a fine introduction to a wider audience?).
Lyrically, from what I can glean, the band immerses themselves in Celtic myth and mythology, dealing with ancient Irish deities and their legends. It’s intelligently written and performed with aplomb, I suspect the band has been majorly researching ancient Celtic lore, and should be highly commended for this! “In The Halls” is nicely packaged with a well presented cover and inner sleeve, which yet again proves, that even without a label, a demo or promo CAN be presented to a high standard…since congratulations to the lads for realising and acting accordingly. A fine first attempt at an album, Celtachor should be collectively praised for a very worthwhile debut release.