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Ruadh - The Rock of the Cycle Award winner

The Rock of the Cycle
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 16 May 2020, 11:28 AM

RUADH is a UK black metal band from Glasgow, Scotland.  “The Rock of the Clyde,” is their second full length album. The band is the brainchild of Tom Perrett, who decided to add other members to his project for this second go around. Black metal is a genre that mixes very well with other styles—RUADH mix folk elements into their raw blackened fury for a truly stunning release.   The production isn’t all that great and perhaps some of the songs are a bit long winded but multiple listens reveal an album that is worth your time.

The Rock Of The Clyde,” mixes these elements in the best way that I’ve heard since MOONSORROW’s “Viides luku-Havitetty.”  The opening track, “Embers,” starts out blazing, with drums hitting like hammers and atmospheric guitars tearing it up.  This album is actually rather melodic in most places and it isn’t as bleak and foreboding as most other black metal.  Don’t misunderstand me—this IS definitely black metal but it just presents itself in a different type of package, one that centers on melody rather than nonstop guns ablazing.  The songs, despite how much depth each one contains and all the little things going on within them, are catchy and sometimes even jaunty.

Listen to “Embers,” around the four minute mark.  That crunchy back rhythm guitar and bass add in the heavier elements while a soaring and very melodic guitar solo rips through it—if you don’t that find head banging and catchy as hell then you probably don’t have a soul. The title track, “The Rock Of The Clyde,” opens with much less abrasive elements—flute or some other wood wind instrument, couples with the simple drumming as both electric and clean guitar mix in.  This displays another remarkable aspect of this album: it never feels cluttered even when all the elements begin to build up and layer on top of each other.  Each song has a million things happening but it comes off as a living entity that is growing as it learns instead of a mix mash of random noises.  Tom displays his clean vocals here and they are much more in front of the mix than his blackened shrieks and growls.

They are a deeper register and have the feel of a folk singer, although not as corny. At various times during the album, Ceiti lends her own clean voice to the mix and it just makes everything better—she definitely adds yet another layer to the album.  At the seven minute mark, the song goes into full black metal beast mode with drums that I don’t think can get faster and rapid firing riffs.  It is an intense display and a stark contrast to the previous, folk half of the song but the two halves  do sound like they are still part of the same song and not disjointed.

Winter Light,” is perhaps the most cold feeling song on the album and wastes no time in getting started, Tom grunting his way over the music in the songs beginning moments. The song has very melodic and opens up to greener fields around the three minute mark with violins leading the charge to an almost cinematic landscape.  My favorite part of the song, and one of the stand out moments in the album as a whole, is from the six minute mark all the way to the end.  It starts with the bass up front while the lead guitar moves through the drums, which build up in intensity as all this goes on.  The distortion gets back in for an interjection of black metal that ends the song on a high and heavy note.

Fields Of Heather,” is extremely catchy and an anthem to all things Scottish, melodic, folky, metal and just a straight up kick ass song.  It flows very well, the lead guitar leading the charge that is backed up by the drums.  From each moment to the next, the composition of this song creates something that is heavy but expansive.  This one is easily my favorite on the album because it has so many good parts but comes off as more than just one big wall of sound.  From 3:30 to to 6:24 is down right beautiful, folk and metal becoming one true force.  The clean vocals that follow next, almost like a choir chant, bridge the gap to the galloping guitar solos/riffs that end the song.

The last two tracks is a two part song called, “Only Distant Echoes Reign.”  The first part is the only short song on the album, just under five minutes.  It is an acoustic song but it carries the same atmosphere as the rest of the album.  It serves a nice breather/respite from the rest of album and sets up the next part perfectly. If you aren’t looking at the track numbers when it switches over, you can’t tell when this song ends and part two begins—very seamless and makes it truly feel like one song. For a few precious seconds, the second part carries on the acoustic part but quickly switches into blackened mode but the keys keep it epic. The solos in this song are probably the most emotional of the whole bunch and lends the sound to forlorn passages,  music that exists in the now but hearkens to the past in a respectful nod

Honestly, RUADH’s “The Rock Of The Clyde,” is the best folk infused metal album (blackened or otherwise) I’ve heard in a long time.  If you want to get into black metal or folk metal this album would be a good start.  If you enjoy these genres already, this album needs to be added to your collection immediately.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Embers
2. The Rock Of The Clyde
3. Winter Light
4. Fields Of Heather
5. Only Distant Echoes Reign – Part 1
6. Only Distant Echoes Reign – Part 2
Tom Perrett – Vocals, Guitar, All Other Instruments
Kim Copland – Bass
Phil Morrison – Drums
Ceiti – Vocals
Record Label: Northern Silence Productions


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