Cruachan will be celebrating their 25th anniversary soon, (25 years of blood, if you will) and they’ve also just put out a new album with a distinctive sonic approach. “Nine Years of Blood,” stands out as a powerful new addiction to the group’s discography, highlighting their quest for tone and sonic aesthetics.
This studio effort is indeed one of the band’s hardest hitting works to date. The 12 tracks on this release have a raw, gritty and in-your-face feel, which contextualizes the group’s folk influences into a truly heavy-hitting metal/hardcore twist. Inspired by bloody tales of Irish history, this album has a grim and dark edge, although the folk elements in the songs bring a timeless vibe to the music, almost as if these tracks were haunted.
The first few song on the album might be considered as the most upfront and aggressive ones in this release. Folk instruments aren’t as prominent, and the classic rock band set up seems to gain the most significant role under the spotlight.
On the other hand, there are plenty of space for folk instruments, but they seem to be adding color, rather than fully supporting the song arrangements. Also, the album’s intensity is often broken by some distinctive tunes including “The Battle Of the Yellow Ford,” which brings the band’s folksy side into a more prominent spot. This track is brooding and dark, and it really adds to the atmosphere of the record. As the album goes by, folk instruments take over with a lot more presence, often defining the full arrangements of the track and leading the way.
From black metal influences, to classic heavy metal, hard rock, folk and Celtic music, you can expect everything from this remarkable album, which is filled with melody and aggression in equally balanced parts. Of course, that means it’s we want and expect in a Cruachan record, and going through their body of work, you’ll find a sea of top tier albums. However, I feel that “Nine Years of Blood,” truly is a stand out release.
The creative concept of the album is quite amazing too, because the songs are actually like stories, and they are all quite intriguing, adding a great underlying ambiance, and making the record very visual and cinematic in many ways. I particularly love the production style of this record, because it’s not overly polished, and it remains quite gritty, in all the right ways.
I’ve found that people have a wide wide variety of taste and styles they enjoy when it comes to Folk Metal, myself included. But when you’re pulling this record out of its sleeve, you know you’re “breaking out the good stuff.” Because “Nine Years of Blood,” is just simply what Folk Metal should be.
Run Time: 48:22
1.I Am Tuan
2. Hugh o’neil – The Earl of Tyrone
3. Blood and Victory
4. Queen of War
5. The Battle of the Yellow Ford
6. Cath Na Brioscai
7. The Harp, the Lion, the Dragon and the Sword
8. An Ale Before Battle
9. Nine Years of Blood
10. The Siege of Kinsale
11. The Flight of the Earls
12. Back Home in Derry