Celtachor - Nine Waves from the Shore
Irish Black Folk Metal
7 songs (49:52)
Release year: 2012
Reviewed by Rob

After many years of half-baked bands and obscurity, Ireland has just recently started to make a mark on the metal world with a number of up-and-coming trailblazers of varying kinds of metal. They are tight, well produced and have their art nailed down to a tee. Nine Waves from the Shore is the record that should have secured Celtachor as one of those bands that Ireland can put forward as its finest to take on the world's competition. While this endeavor is admirable and almost fully realized, there are a lot of unfortunate flaws to this release that are typical of a band hailing from a country that isn't known for having a talent-spewing metal scene.

Don't get me totally wrong. The first track The Landing of Amergin is a 10-minute black metal beast that showcases the maximum strength of Celtachor's songwriting. It's a vibrant all-round performance from them, and despite its length it develops in a lot of unexpected ways before finishing with a great punch. While no other track on the album quite matches its majesty, Sorrow of the Dagda and Conn of the Hundred Battles are also very well thought-through and get better with each listen.

Celtachor's sound is a rare kind, most notably due to the use of the amusingly puny tin whistle, played by lead screamer Stephen Roche. The whistle adds a lovely touch of mysticism that contrasts severely with just about everything else that's happening. The downside to the addition of the whistle is that Roche doesn't have a knack for keeping in time and his playing is distractingly sloppy. You get a sense of the rhythms that he's trying to play, but he just can't play them, and a few of the notes are flat. Annoying so it is, since the strength of the folk influence lies in its fun foot-tappability. He's not the only culprit, however, and it's fair to say that timing is Celtachor's biggest problem across the board, with many of the more technical segments sounding muddy and lame. This is something they've been slated for in past reviews but it seems they still haven't taken the hint.

The fact that they didn't carve out extra time to get super tight before entering the studio makes it difficult for me to fully appreciate their talent. There is a lot of interesting stuff on this album - tribal drumming, acoustic sections and mythological Irish lyrics to sail you into la-la land. Celtachor are a fellowship of lads that are definitely able for the quest, but they need to pull it together if they're going to save Ireland from the darkness (or the light, whichever you prefer).

Killing Songs :
The Landing of Amergin, Sorrow of the Dagda, Conn of the Hundred Battles
Rob quoted 74 / 100
Koeppe quoted 55 / 100
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