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Cruachan - Pagan (CD)

by Orpheus Spiliotopoulos at 05 May 2004, 9:30 PM

Ireland's unique mixture, described as Folk Metal, Cruachan, is back! For those who've forgotten or don't know who Cruachan are, let me enlighten your memory (ok, those who don't know anything about them, just watch).
Cruachan was formed back in 1992 by Keith Fay and released their first album in 1995 (Tuatha Na Gael). Five years later and after various changes in the band's roster, they released The Middle Kingdom (which personally is my favorite Cruachan album), then came Folk Lore (2001) and now they're releasing their latest work, Pagan.
From the very beginning, Cruachan seemed deeply influenced by Celtic myths, paganism and Tolkien as their lyrics (which always were their strong point) were mostly based upon those elements. What makes Cruachan quite a different band from anything else you've ever listened to is the use of instruments like the Irish flute, the Greek bouzouki, tin whistles, low whistles, fiddles, cellos, Uilleann pipes and more, combined with electric guitars, drums, a bass and quite often…Black Metal vocals!
Pagan is a mythological dreamscape like all the other Cruachan albums. It ranges from druids (Erinsong) to Tolkien's Middle Earth (The Fall of Gondolin) but never neglects to mention the hardships Ireland's been through (with heroes always trying to bring literal liberation to their country like in Michael Collins). The title-song of the album expresses Keith Fay's frustration towards those who are pulling the strings (and always were) behind Christianity, like the Vatican, at least that's what's written in the album's booklet by Fay himself. The blend of Black Metal vocals together with all those out of the ordinary instruments is fine, especially when after the darkish singing comes Karen Gilligan's voice to soften your soul and ears (contrasting vocals always made it interesting huh?).
The only thing bothering me is the, once again, bad production of the album. I mean, after all those years in the whereabouts, couldn't they have managed a better production? It spoils all the fantastic work done in the lyrics, the mixing of the instruments (as ideas)…the whole fantasy. Also, I can't stop wondering why Erinsong is instrumental when there are lyrics in the booklet…Same goes to A Thousand Years. The lyrics and the notes about those two songs thrilled me but where's the singing? A teaser? Hope not, cause I hate teasers!
Nevertheless if you put aside the bad production and the never to be heard lyrics, the album's got a fantastic cover! It really matches the lyrics, the sounds and the dreamy thoughts produced by your minds while listening to “Pagan.
I'm glad there are bands still doing what they know best. That's simply being different from all the rest. Really, if you're bored of the same everyday-mainstream music, go buy this album. It's worth buying even if the production isn't perfect (I hope it gets better on the next album!).

3 Star Rating

Michael Collins
The Gael
Ard Ri Na Heireann
The March To Cluain Tairbh
Viking Slayer
1014 A.D.
Some Say The Devil Is Dead
Summoning of the Sidhe
A Thousand Years
Lament For The Wild Geese
The Fall Of Gondolin
Karen Gilligan - Vocals & Percussions
Keith Fay - Vocals, Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Keyboards, Bouzouki, Mandolin, Banjo, Bodhran & Percussion
John Clohessy - Bass & Backing Vocals
Joe Farrell - Drums & Percussion

John O Fathaigh - Irish Flute, Tin Whistles, Low Whistle, Recorder, Bombarde & Live Keyboards
Chris Kavanagh - Vocals (On Some Say The Devil Is Dead)
Diane O' Keefe - Cello
Tommy Martin - Uilleann Pipes
Michelle O' Brien - Fiddle
Record Label: Karmageddon Media


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