You know what day this is, of course. Yes, it’s the anniversary of the day when the rubber band was patented in 1845. It’s also the birthday of wrestler Samoa Joe, and the first anniversary of Alex Chilton’s death. On this day in 1789, during the American Revolutionary War, George Washington granted the Continental Army a holiday “as an act of solidarity with the Irish in their fight for independence.”
Okay, I’m forgetting something, I know I am. There’s something else about this day that I’m supposed to remember. Hmmmmm. I got it! It’s St. Patrick’s Day! At least here in the U.S., it’s the day when everyone pretends they’re Irish, and in celebration of Irishness, we all wear green and get totally shit-faced.
Getting shit-faced while wearing green is all well and good — I will be doing both. But while I’m here at NCS, I prefer to celebrate the grand day by focusing on Irish metal, and specifically on a Dublin band called Celtachor — a name which could loosely be translated as “the Celtic is everything”.
And for this band, so it is. Celtachor’s hybrid of black ‘n roll and folk music is inspired by Irish legends. It’s a re-telling in the language of extreme metal of stories that have been passed down for a long time. The music isn’t slick. It’s rough around the edges. Hell, it’s rough all the way through — but Celtachor’s music is honest, it has heart, it’s real, it will set your head to banging — and you can download their new demo for free. (more after the jump . . .)
Celtachor self-released their second demo on March 8. It’s called In the Halls of Our Ancient Fathers, and it consists of an introductory track and six songs that combine an interesting mix of styles.
Distorted guitars deliver a roaring combination of jolting power chords and crust-punk riffs, with the occasional burst of tremolo whirring. As for the drumming, I don’t think there’s a single blast beat or burst of double-bass on the album, just simple rock-style beats and booming tribal intros and fills, with enough variety in the crash, clatter, and boom to accent the songs and set your head to nodding.
The vocals are part of what gives the music its roots in black metal. They’re whisky-abraded, suitably hostile, without pretense or calculation — and they’re the first black-metal vocals I’ve heard with a discernible Irish accent. They help give Celtachor’s music soul — they’re fierce and blackened without being cold.
But the Celtic is everything, and so along with the black ‘n roll stylings you also get a strong flavoring of Celtic folk music in the melodies, the principal contributor of which is a whistle, played by the band’s vocalist (Stephen Roche). The whistle and its Celtic melodies, which make their appearance on almost every song to greater or lesser degrees, often stand in place of a lead guitar. That one instrument — not an extravagant collection of traditional instruments that you see featured by other folk-metal or blackened-folk bands — is all it takes. That one simple and very old instrument, played with feeling and skill, lends Celtachor’s music something distinctive and authentic.
Put all this together, and what you get is music that’s worth hearing. Yes, it’s rough through and through, but there’s a spark here that with more work and more experience could really catch fire. And even as it is, I wish I could be in a Dublin club on this St. Patrick’s Day night, lifting a few pints and then hitting the pit with Celtachor on stage, banging my head to some Celtic blackened folk. That would suit just fine.
Here’s a track from the new demo:
1. Celtachor: Rise of Lugh
Now, here’s the band’s ReverbNation widget, which will allow you to stream all of the demo’s songs except the intro — and if you like what you hear, all of the songs are available for free download here: