Candlelight Records 2013
1.The Piper O' Dundee 2.The Lion of Scotland 3.Bannockburn
4.Hail Land of My Fathers 5.Ettrick Forest in November 6.The Spellbound Knight
7.In Shadowland 8.Winter - A Dirge 9.Culloden Moor 10.Blar Na H-Eaglaise Brice
Epic and atmospheric best describes ‘The Piper O Dundee’, the short introduction song, used to set the tone for ‘The Lion Of Scotland’ which roars open majestically, harsh and melodic all in one folk inspired black metal assault. The folk influence is never far from the band’s sound in this opening track, be it through the use of the guitars or keyboards. Either way, the end result is absolutely stunning and amazingly catchy. The harsh screamed black metal style of vocal used is as you would expect, only delivered without absolute venom and an utter belief in what is being spewed forth. ‘Bannockburn’ allows the themes and atmospheres to follow on perfectly with the pace really being picked up to give an absolute sense of urgency, a need to deliver their message so the listener is in no doubts as to what’s being said. Again, unbelievably catchy and even when the song is at full pace, the melancholic atmospheres are never lost. The keyboards are incorporated into ‘Hail Land Of My Fathers’ so well, adding even more gloomy and eerie atmosphere which works very well when the pace is dropped slightly, although the sense of urgency heard in the previous track is never lost here. The guitar riffs used are relatively simple, but when mixed with all of the other elements work well, there’s really no need to over complicate the song at the risk of losing atmosphere.
‘Ettrick Forest In November’ follows on in very similar fashion, the pace once again slowed throughout much of the song. The band does flirt with faster paces sporadically, which adds variety and certainly doesn’t sound out of place in amongst the slower passages. The opening short passage to ‘The Spellbound Knight’ wouldn’t sound out of place on The Lord Of The Rings; that’s what sprang to mind before the song burst open in a haze of harsh, yet melodic black metal and folk inspired indulgence. The band are definitely indulging themselves here, immersing themselves in their music to compose an absolutely epic song, the folk inspiration at the heart of the composition. Acoustic guitars and whistles break the song up nicely, acting as a short melodic interlude before re-introducing the harsher black metal elements. Think Winterfylleth and Wodensthrone, add a dash of Mithotyn and Celtachor and that’s where you would probably find Cnoc An Tursa sat! ‘In Shadowland’ is another massively epic and majestic song, once again packed full of atmosphere and played with a real tightness, and it is this tightness that gives each and every song a real brightness and standing out as been absolute quality.
The same could be said for ‘Winter A Dirge’ which is another epic monster. There seems to be a real pride in the bands playing, obviously proud Scotsmen which translates through into their music. Not that their nationality over powers the music in anyway, the music remains black metal at its core with different traditional elements combined and utilised to make a final end product that is something truly special. This point is once again proved in ‘Culloden Moor’ which is so unbelievably catchy and monstrously epic, the mix of faster black metal and slower, more folk inspired passages working to maximum effect. Closing the album is ‘Blar Na H-Eglaise Brice’ which is a sorrow filled and heart felt piece of music, the traditional Celtic whistle backed up simply by haunting keyboards, the perfect way to end a near perfect album. Cnoc An Tursa have produced an absolutely stunning debut full length album that is without doubt a genre leader. It’s not very often that a band can write and record such a stunning piece of work on any album, never-mind a debut, but these four Scotsmen have done just that. The mix of black metal and folk/cletic inspired traditional music works so well, the balance is just right that neither one overpowers the other and you just can’t fail to be impressed. ‘The Giants Of Auld’ is an absolute masterpiece and if you haven’t heard it yet then you really should as it is something very special indeed and comes as highly rated as possible, it’s another ‘must own’ from another outstanding UK band!
9.5 Out Of 10
Band Page: Here
Buy It: Here