Vera : After the self-released ’Nine Waves From The Shore’ (2012) and the Trollzorn debut ’Nuada Of The Silver Arm’ (2015), our attention was caught on the new generation of Irish pagan metal bands. Celtachor goes one step further in their musical development on their third album ‘Fiannaíocht’. This happens to be a concept album about the Irish mythological hero Finn of the Fianna and focuses on his youth. Music-wise the band also has new developments to offer: Liam Henry is the new addition on violin and harp, the new bassist Robert Macdomhnail also plays harp and bouzouki and vocalist Stephen Roche (Mael Mordha) screams not only blackened creepy chants, but uses a lot of momentous sounding clean vocals as well now.
So far the changes and that’s quite a lot. This has resulted in more depth in the general band sound, from time to time it gets really storytelling and cinematic – epic, if you want to call it that way – but it maintains that raucous tinge we like so much with Irish bands (think of Primordial, Waylander, Cruachan). Thus it appears to be an upgrade all over, starting with the impressive ‘Sons Of Morna’ for which they shot a bloodshed tinged, yet imposing video. The melancholic howling guitars put us on the tiptoe of expectations, next they go all the way in blackened modus with creepy chants. Folk instruments are prominent in the songs (in the back) and clean vocals occur. ‘King Of Tara’ goes from loosely played semi acoustic guitars and leads towards an heavy outburst. Clean vocals sound rebellious, sometimes quite pompous. More than nine minutes long, we can wander around in the fascinating story of ‘Tuiren’, with black metal parts as well as solemn and proclaiming clean vocals. The spoken fragment does not shun drama, but then it goes into crescendo towards a mighty closure and that’s really magnificent. On the other hand, ‘The Search For Badbh’ happens to be an introvert, acoustic song, with beautiful clean vocals and heartfelt sounds in the guitar solo. Thus you will notice quite a lot of variegation on this album, a wide range of intense moods and atmospheres. The next songs also include many moods, going from the melancholic, instrumental ‘Great Ships Came From Over The Waves’ to the dramatic roughness of ‘Cauldron Of Plenty’, an introvert stop with flute playing in ‘Tears Of Aoife’ and finally the epic occluding track ‘Dubh, Dun Agus Liath’ which includes a reprise of the guitar theme at the beginning of the album, evolving into a mighty conclusion of the first part of this concept. Amazing positive surprise!