Cruachan - _Folk-Lore_
(Hammerheart, 2002)
by: Vincent Eldefors (9.5 out of 10)
Cruachan is certainly not the most productive band in the history of metal, but what counts is that they are one of the absolute best. Their first album _Tuatha Na Gael_ was a landmark in the black/folk metal field, but the second one, _The Middle Kingdom_, was a lot less black. That is also the case with this third release from Cruachan. Except for the last track (which is actually one of the best), there is nothing here that shows the slightest resemblance to black metal. Even though there are some people who only like Cruachan's first album and think they have wimped out since then, I am definitely not of that opinion. _Folk-Lore_ is really a continuation of what they began on _The Middle Kingdom_, but with every single element further improved -- the songs are even more complex, the music is more varied, and the female vocals by Karen Gilligan are stronger than ever. Add to this a top-notch production job and you will understand that Cruachan have risen to become one of the most important metal bands today. They are creative, innovative and dare to challenge everyone and everything. I'm really glad that the band decided against signing the deal they were offered by Century Media in the mid '90s. Instead they have been able to develop their own sound free from any label pressure. The most important thing about Hammerheart is that they offer their artists artistic freedom, which will inevitably bring out the best in every band. Almost every single track of this album is exceptional, except for "Spancill Hill" which sounds a little foolish to me. _Folk-Lore_ is without a doubt one of the most unique and beautiful metal albums ever made. The Romans didn't succeed in eradicating the cultural diversity of Europe -- Celtic music is still alive and better than ever before.

[Paul Schwarz: "It is extremely boring to listen to music that harmonises old Bathory riffs with a coy Celtic chorus -- and extremely infuriating to find the same band making the same horrible mistake twice of trying to make it sound good."]

(article published 12/4/2002)


ALBUMS
1/9/2007 Y Stefanis 7.5 Cruachan - The Morrigan's Call
11/19/2004 Q Kalis 7.5 Cruachan - Pagan
8/12/2000 P Schwarz 4 Cruachan - The Middle Kingdom
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