May 222023

In past years we’ve written extensively about the music of the Belfast-based solo black metal project Dratna, following their course across four EPs and a 2022 debut album (Fear Gorta & Tales of the Undead) since the first release in 2018. It has been a remarkable excursion, and one that has fueled increasingly high expectations for each new release.

We didn’t expect another Dratna album so soon, but that is what we have — a new full-length named Fom​óraigh that will be released on May 26th by the distinctive NY label Fiadh Productions. Maybe expectations were a bit tempered given the relative speed of this follow-up, but that trepidation only made the new record even more astonishing to hear.

In its inspirations and themes the new album draws on Irish mythology and the landscape of The Mourne Mountians. In its music, to use the rudest form of summing up, it interweaves atmospheric and raw black metal with folk music performed on a wide array of instruments, rich symphonic overlays, and hints of doom. It unfolds like a head-spinning, eye-popping musical pageant, one that seems to have one foot in an age lost to the millennia and another in the hear-and-now. Continue reading »

Apr 212019


To have any hope of finishing Part 2 of today’s column I’ve had to carve off some of the releases I had intended to write about too. Painful decisions to be sure, but between Part 1 and what follows in this Part 2, there’s probably too much music for any normal person to focus on already, and too many threats to your financial solvency if you like all of it well enough to go on a spending spree.

Part 1 was devoted to advance tracks from forthcoming releases (and one new single), but this installment includes complete streams of five new EPs, which ought to be enough to thoroughly burn this Easter to the ground. (Four of them are “name your own price” at Bandcamp.)


In the space of little more than a year, the Northern Ireland one-man black metal band Dratna (which is its creator’s name rendered in a medieval Irish language) has released three EPs of increasing quality and coalescing focus. The first two were Clíodhna and Altar (reviewed here), and the latest is An Cath (The Battle), which was on released April 20th. Continue reading »