Cruadalach – Lead – Not Follow [2011]

Band: Cruadalach
Album: Lead – Not Follow
Release year: 2011
Genre: Folk Metal

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Since their formation in 2008, Cruadalach have been busy guys (and gals): a tour through their home country Czech Republic and neighbour Slovakia; a demo in 2010 (“V Rytmu Staré Krve”); an EP early this year (“Agni – Unveil What’s Burning Inside”); and now the debut album “Lead – Not Follow”.

Most folk metal bands I know have this “happy feeling” to them: they pick up medieval instruments and recreate the melodies which the Celts used to play around bonfires, adding some fast and heavy electric guitars to make it sound metal. Cruadalach use those same instruments but the result is quite opposite, as they sound pretty obscure instead of party-like. “Nezlomi” and “Cruadalach” are two perfect examples of that, while “The Promise” over-steps the boundaries of doom metal.

“Living With Pride” and “For My Bleeding Friends” are more aggressive, but it’s “Rage Starts Here” that, living to its title, show us just how raw and shredding this band can be. Also the vocals are rougher, pure death metal style.

Besides the instrumental intro, “Dubh”, “Blejanje Na Mjesec” is also a reminder of the original folk that inspired Cruadalach in the first place. The music makes you feel like you’re in the middle of a magic Pagan ritual, and the lyrics (in Czech) are either spoken or chanted, rather than sung.

Speaking about lyrics, Cruadalach’s are more than the usual stories about ancient gods, bloody battles and/or fallen heroes (except for “Morrigan”, maybe). In general, they put into songs their personal experiences, and “Lead – Not Follow” focus on their struggles against society’s preconceptions. Hence the cover art, where you see a sheep in a typical wolf pose, as if howling at the moon. Interesting, don’t you think?

4/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

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