Feb 022023

Track lengths on albums and EPs can vary significantly, but the most common seem to be in the 4-5-minute range. Even when some song lengths creep up into the 10-minute range, most releases still include enough individual tracks that interested listeners can do some “sampling”, i.e., listening to a song or two in order to decide whether to take the plunge into the entire record.

Scáth Na Déithe‘s new album Virulent Providence does not allow this. It includes only two tracks, each of them in the vicinity of 20 minutes long, and those two are also conceptually connected, so even listening to just one of them diminishes the impact of the album as a whole.

Obviously, this is a risky approach, especially in an age filled to overflowing with distractions, where minds constantly flit from thing to thing and patience is in short supply. The demands for immediate gratification and tendencies toward quick impulsive decisions can make the prospect of investing 20 minutes in a single composition, or two of them that demand that much time, a daunting one. The desire for sampling won’t go away either, and so there’s also the risk that people might just spend a few minutes listening to the start of one of these two long tracks, and make a snap decision based on that alone.

But we’re here to tell you that Virulent Providence is well worth all the attention it demands, because the album is a remarkable one. It’s also difficult to fathom how it could have been broken up into shorter pieces without severely sacrificing what makes it so remarkable. It’s simply one of those albums that, to be fully appreciated, requires immersion in the whole saga. Fortunately, it turns out that becoming immersed in it isn’t difficult at all, and as long as there isn’t some external event that forces you to stop, you probably won’t have any sense of a clock ticking and time passing. Continue reading »

Feb 092020


Well, I did manage to complete Part 2 of this column in time to get it on the site before my NCS time ran out today. However, I did have to make a few compromises because of the shortness of time. For one thing, I had planned to present four full releases, but replaced one of those with a couple of tracks from a record that isn’t yet released. For another, I wrote much less about the first release below than I had wanted to. So it’s another case where the music will mainly have to speak for itself, with my role limited to (hopefully) inducing you to listen.


I reviewed this Irish band’s debut EP in 2015, acclaiming it with words such as these:

“Structured with plenty of twists and turns into new regions of a phantasmic soundscape, this EP is never dull despite the length of the two longest songs. The time passes before you know it, you blink yourself out of a doomed reverie, and you wonder where you are.”

Continue reading »

Oct 052015

Scáth Na Déithe-The Horrors of Old


This is the third of three brief reviews I’ve written today for new or forthcoming short releases. In this one the subject is The Horrors of Old — the debut EP released on October 1 by Scáth Na Déithe, a two-man band from Ireland (Cathal Hughes and Stephen Todd).

The EP consists of two long tracks (in the 10-11 minute range) and two short ones (in the range of 1-2 minutes). It does what all debut demos and EPs ideally should do: It displays in a relatively short span of time the capabilities and ideas of the band in a way that’s impressive, consistent, and coherent. And in this case, the EP does that in a way that furnishes a wholly immersive listening experience. Continue reading »