Review by Jason Guest
An album that is as powerful as it is diverse, Nine Waves From The Shore has been a long time in the making. Formed out of an idea that arose in 2007, Ireland’s blackened folk metal band Celtachor took shape in 2010 with this, their self-released début album, bring recorded during 2011 and 2012 in their own studio in Dublin. As “narrators of Irish mythology”, combining folk tales and melodies with the harsh resistance of black metal, Celtachor have delved deep into the past and brought to us their very own depiction of the sagas and stories of their homeland. A hybrid of black, doom and folk, Nine Waves From The Shore is the sound of epic battle, of multitudes fighting face-to-face for glory, the tales being told for centuries to come.
Battle commences with both ‘The Landing of Amergin’ and ‘The Battle of Tailtin’ launching into the kind of salvo that propels many a black metal album from scorching start to fiery finish. The tin whistles and the stirring rhythms that are merged into the attack serve to fortify the two tracks’ martial fibres, bringing with them a distinct sense of those on the frontline. The acoustic work on the album, such as in ‘The Kingship Of Bodb Dearg’ and ‘Sorrow Of The Dagda’ bring a cool breeze, a natural air to the album that is both celebratory and sorrowful, but it’s the instrumental ‘Tar éis an Sidhe’ where the acoustic comes to the fore. A sublime track, its melancholic and enigmatic atmospherics are utterly enthralling as they gently cast you through its six minute duration into the soothing waves that close the track. The battle resumes with ‘Conn Of The Hundred Battles’, another vein-rupturing assault, but it’s the rapid, ruthless, and rancorous ‘Anann: Ermne’s Daughter’, the most “black metal” of all of the tracks that closes the album, that ensures that this episode from Irish mythology will remain with you for a long time to come.
Combining folk with metal can go two ways. Either the albeit well-intended rendition ends up sounding like a feeble caricature that tarnishes its inspirational source, or its very essence is captured and communicated in such a way as to make it near tangible. While the album has its weak points – largely where the whistle clashes with the vocals and a couple of passages that tend to labour on, but that’s nitpicking – Celtachor can count themselves as one of the victors. Rendered in elaborate and complex structures intertwined with an emotive and impassioned execution, Nine Waves From The Shore is a very impressive début and well worth your time.
8 out of 10
- Visit Celtachor’s website here
- Facebook them here
- Listen and download the album here
- Buy the CD here
- The Landing: Amergin’s Conquest
- The Battle Of Tailtin
- The Kingship Of Bodb Dearg
- Sorrow Of The Dagda
- Tar éis an Sidhe
- Conn Of The Hundred Battles
- Anann: Ermne’s Daughter