Vera : With the album ’Blood On The Black Robe’ of 2011, a new chapter began in the by then already wealthy history of the Irish folk/black metal band Cruachan. These echelons of the folk metal genre returned to the roughness and heaviness of their early days and with the departure of Karen Gilligan the smoothened touch of female vocals also disappeared. Not only the undersigned applauded that, the popularity of the band soon increased from then on. ’Blood For The Blood God’ (2014) continued that approach and it was the second part of a trilogy with ‘blood’ as theme. Now the time has come for the third and last part of the trilogy: ‘Nine Years Of Blood’, a concept album about the historical war between England and Ireland. It took place from 1593 till 1603.
Once again this happens to be a must have for those who have a liking for passionate folk metal with historical, intelligent lyrics. Keith Fay does an amazing job, not only as vocalist, but at every discipline of being musician. Even though the album is mainly heavy, yet there is more room again for sublimation and different approaches. This time even influences coming from classical music, according to the explanation of the creator of this epic. Our impression is that they remain heavy and battle-like. Traditionally they kick off the album with a beautiful, atmospheric instrumental intro ‘I Am Tuan’, but then they cut loose with ‘Hugh O’Neill – Earl Of Tyrone’, brimming with ferocious blackened screams and Spartan tight guitars. Only a flute intermezzo is a moment to take a breath, then they proclaim the title in a fetching and rebellious manner. ‘Blood And Victory’ has a kind of schwung that reminds me a bit of Finntroll for some reason, but furthermore this comparison ends, that’s obvious. Again they smoothly gallop between raucous vocals and calmer passages. Catchy is the interaction between clean and harsh vocals. The first song written for this album by Keith Fay – and the longest one – is ‘Queen Of War’. A melancholic violin and clean vocals at the beginning, then follows an epic outburst and it gets heavier and tighter with towards the end a bass intermezzo and inciting metal. The harmony vocals in ‘The Battle Of The Yellow Ford’ are beautiful, but soon there is a lot of diversity in vocals and instrumental skills. Obviously violin and flutes have an important and prominent role in the songs. A nice example of that appears to be ‘Cath Na Brioscal’. Folk melodies flirt with classic heavy metal riffs in the captivating The Harp, The Lion, The Dragon And The Sword’, while the title is repeated in a conjuring way. After any short intermezzos (‘An Ale Before Battle’ and the title track) they also keep our ultimate attention during the next songs, rounding off with a heavy version of the traditional ‘Back Home In Derry’. Again a very strong album of these Irish representatives of folk metal!