HistoryA demo entitled Celtica was delivered in 1994. The band had interest from Century Media in 1997 but declined to sign with the label claiming the label insisted on retaining control on the band's music. As a result the band broke up. The band reformed in 1999 and signed to Hammerheart. Here is a speed metal band from Ireland. They have folk parts. They also have Celtic interludes.
The band left Karmageddon Media in early 2005 and signed to Black Lotus that summer. Both labels were no more within a year’s time. The Morrigan’s Call emerged in 2006 on AFM. The group had a truncated tour of Russia in late 2006 which was accompanied by several cancellations. Drummer Joe Farrell left in January, 2007 due to “personal reasons.” He was replaced by Colin Purcell. Female singer Karen Gilligan left in late 2008. Proud Irish band Cruachan’s singer Keith Fay was beaten up and stabbed in downtown Dublin in spring of 2011 upon leaving a nightclub. He reported that a gang of approximately 20 men was taunting the singer’s sister following which they attacked the singer and his entourage when confronted.
Blood On The Black Robe was the start of the band's Blood trilogy. It was on Candlelight although the follow-up would not be. The Nine Years' War took place in Ireland from 1593 to 1603. It was fought between an Irish nationalists against the English sovereignty over the island, Eric Fletcher took over the bass for Blood For The Blood God. The group appeared at Hellfest in 2016. Nine Years Of Blood was supported through a video for the song The Battle Of The Yellow Ford. Mauro Frison took over the drums. The gang switched over to Despotz Records of Sweden in 2020. Cruachan announced that bassist Rustam Shakirzyanov had left the band following the performance at 70000 Tons of Metal. His tenure was two years. Tom Woodlock was on The Living And The Dead. Joe Farrell had returned in 2020, but on bass duty now. The band uploaded the song The Blacksmith, which was submitted for the Eurovision 2023 contest. It was not selected to represent Ireland. Regardless, the band proclaimed it was for the group's female fans. The band’s The Living And The Dead was out through Despotz Records. This record was billed as Forest Songs initially. David Quinn left in 2023. He had stayed less than three years. The band had a concert with CelticLegacy in the autumn of 2023. Former member John Clohessy joined the ambassador program for the International Space Station. The act was booked for Romania's Festivalul Celtic Transilvania in 2024.
Cruachan was the capital of an old Irish kingdom called Connacht.
CRUACHAN - THE MORRIGAN’S CALL - CANDLELIGHT USA
If you are an employee of either AFM Records in Germany or Candlelight Records in the USA it might be prudent to begin your new job search.
Cruachan, from Ireland, takes great pride in its affinity with Celtic culture and Irish nationalism, except that on disc the music sounds positively ridiculous and, for metal fans, even mildly insulting. Dividing its musical output stylistically between a heavy approach with vocalising from Keith Fay and a Celtic folk style with vocals by female singer Karen Gilligan the dichotomy in and of itself would normally be dismissed as abysmal and soon forgotten. Yet, the music and the singing are so utterly bad that one very well might do a double-take before ejecting the CD to make sure this is not an incorrect disc. At times, The Morrigan’s Call sounds like a sped-up Disney recording of a middle-ages medley or a victim of a pitch shifter gone awry. Could anyone - the group, record company or fans - be serious in the scheme? This is proof that a Gaelic language mafia does not operate anywhere on the planet. If they did Cruachan’s members would seriously have to look over their shoulders for the injury they have inflicted to this culture’s name. Compositional skills are not exactly rated here.
Nationalism, folk music and traditional soft spots are anathema to heavy metal. The music that was meant to bind and unite was not designed to be subverted like this. Deference to the old ways, love for traditional customs and hubris for one’s own race or language go against the metal grain of freedom, new order and rebellion. Cruachan just does not get this to the extent that its songs contain any metal music.
Fans apparently do understand this instinctively however. Hammerheart Records, its successor Karmageddom Media and the band’s subsequent record label, Black Lotus Records, are no longer in business. This album is on AFM Records in Europe and Candlelight in America. - Ali “The Metallian”
CRUACHAN - THE LIVING AND THE DEAD - DESPOTZ
Ireland’s Celtic battlelore folk rock band Cruachan is back with a new full-length for the first time in five years. The only surviving band member is mainman Keith although the band’s old drummer has re-joined, albeit on bass.
The band was never a favourite - to put it mildly - at Metallian Towers because we do not like piss in our water, dirt in our meal or chest hair and beard on our girls. Quality, purity and metal are things for us. As much as the album is still more of the same ethnic defilement as before, Cruachan has largely ditched its Skyclad/Sabbat influences as heard on tracks like Blood On The Black Robe and others.
How does this record fare? More or less the same as the band’s other material although, if it makes a difference, the band’s sound quality has improved. Otherwise, the mix of folk mellowdies with attempts at metal remains. The album begins with The Living - and yes the final track is called The Dead - which is an instrumental that wastes no time in reminding the listener that the band’s intention is to… make you dance a jig? That is not a metaphor either. Hear the cello! A riff is repeated at high speed without the offending instrument but regardless it is a lame folk melody before the violin kicks in. I guess, I’ll go find me a fair maiden over the hills now or is that down me an ale at the Irish pub now? The Queen starts with boastful and proud vocals akin to a soliloquy with a riff that is not unlike newer Iron Maiden ones actually. The riff underneath is essentially a bombastic copy of Running Wild's pirate metal material. The vocals titillate between the aforementioned folk tonality and aggressive screaming before suddenly stooping to clone Irish pub sing-along. Not sure if the band and members are schizophrenic, but it feels like 20 seconds of aggressive screaming signal the band it has delivered its obligatory quota of 'metal' and it could comfortably revert to its beloved bouzouki now. Speaking of which, the album lists bouzouki, accordion, violin, banjo, odhrán, mandolin, and my favourite, ehem, bagpipes as instruments. It is truly a feast for the Irish fair aficionado. Personally, I insist the group’s fans protest and let their disappointment be known that no harp is heard on this CD. It is a marvellous instrument for fans as they down the hearty Irish chowder that Molly the pub maid prepares every night as they become langered there. How about the sound of Irish stew being slurped at the bar counter or a recording of Irish ale being gurgled by a guest musician? The album, it is a good time to note, features multiple guest singers. It must have been quite a production. A feast of wimps.
By now, one discerns a pattern whereby every song title begins with ‘The’ definite article. The Hawthorn contains a female-male duet. The lyrics are ridden with lore of the church and the flock. The band and Celtic folklore are so rich in fables and mythology that adding Christian stories makes little difference really yet is a fit frankly. The vocals are clean often and apt for folklore and frolicking before switching to screaming aggressively. Although that minimal aggressiveness may also be omitted at any moment. The band, for instance, submitted a song called The Blacksmith to the poppiest of pop contests, Eurovision. How embarrassing.
So it goes. Every song is ridden with a violin and folklore stories of Irish done good or something something mighty emerald. Metal was designed to unite fans world-wide and break us out of our silos. Folk music is the exact opposite. It is the stale smell of myopic jingoism dulling us to impassive stupor. Cruachan’s is designed to get the listener to... order more Irish pie with a minimal and diluted metal content. Metallic interludes like the beginning of an instrumental called The Festival (Irish renaissance one presumably?) do make cameos, but to be exact the metal here is so isolated and surrounded by folk detritus that it is akin to a tray of Alberta AAA beef that is hosed down with a pressure washer before being handed to the diner. Perhaps another notable mention goes to The Ghost where Cruachan channels Metallica to make things go from bad to worse or worse to worst. Still, and to be exact, tracks like The Reaper have beautiful heartfelt medlies, but what does that have to do with metal? The Witch picks up the pace, is upbeat and finds some energy, but even if we ignore the violin and other transgressions, listen carefully and, at its core, it is riding a dressed up rock riff. The blasting The Dead closes the album and would have been a good track were it not for the folk pop instrument potholes strewn all over this particular Irish road. Nonetheless, here blackness rears its head with a direct plea against the church.
Some may like this jolly quare craic, but to think that any self-respecting human would call this "black metal," well … the person needs a bear hug, poor thing. - Ali “The Metallian”