Roundtable Album Review: Cruadalach – Rebel Against Me
Posted by ChristopherMammal
Release Date: January 2015
Length: 41 minutes
Genre: Folk Metal
Studio Albums: Agni – Unveil What’s Burning Inside (EP, 2011), Lead – Not Follow (2011)
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
WarpRider – I have a hard time articulating what I like about folk-infused metal. I have to use simpler words like fun and energetic because it is hard for me to capture the essence of emotion with folk styles. I hate to use three-letter words, but this is where I am going with Cruadalach’s heavy, thrashy, hardcore brand of folk metal. What makes them a little different from similar bands, in my opinion, is how their songs transition from hugely traditional folk style to downright rhythm and groove, pit-inducing metal laced with hardcore and thrash elements. “Wolves at the Gate” is a prime example where the song starts off with somber instrumentation and a folk feel. As it gains momentum, the song moves into a cadence that makes me want to throw things like this hotel lamp on this hotel table. This is a general description of most of the songs on the album… it’s consistent.
Overall, Cruadalach has a lot to offer buried in those take-me-to-battle folk infusions. Their songs are short and sweet, but pack a lot of punch. They are not solely epic nor cinematic though some instrumental portions have that feel. There is enough here for even the most finicky metal listener. Enjoy! 3.8
RiffRaff – I remember reviewing Cruadalach’s previous album a few years back and generally enjoying it (I’ve long since deleted the promo from my hard drive, so it’s been a while since I’ve listened to it). Then why can’t I get into this record? While having an overall amateurish sound/performance and very sloppy lyrics, the music itself is enjoyable enough. Good, poppy grooves, folk instruments, simple songs that don’t barrage with twenty thousand layers, and a running positive energy feel throughout the record. And my first spin of “Rebel Against Me” (do they mean to use “rebel” as a verb or noun? Are they hugging rebels or do they want someone to go all Braveheart on them?) I was genuinely entertained. Not blown away, but my fingers were tapping and I was into the songs. Then on the second and third spins I was really pushing to get to the end of the thing.
Whereas their first record was a bit more rough around the edges, it was more adventurous. Here, I just don’t feel that hunger. Therefore the simply average songs are just that. Nothing really stands out and makes me want to give a track another spin. Oh well. This isn’t a bad record by any stretch of the imagination, but it does little to stand out. Call it the sophomore slump. Unless you really need new folk metal in your life, I’d recommend holding out until something a bit more unique comes round. 2.0
Irmelinis – If you’re a fan of bands like Tyr, Finntroll, Ensiferum and Alestorm this album fits neatly into your music library. Cruadalach presents a tasteful blend of folk music, nu metal and hardcore, with driving and diverse songs. The foundation in the songs is heavy and aggressive, and doesn’t go into overly cheerful folk metal despite the frequent and enjoyable use of pipes, shawms and fiddles. Most of all I like the dark touch the raspy extreme vocals give. I wouldn’t mind even more variety with monster-growls and troll-grunts. On the negative side: the lyrics are too simple and sloppy, and many of the songs lack creative songwriting and/or genuine emotion. This is an okay album that is fun initially, but not more than that. 2.5
ChristopherMammal – What I like most about Cruadalach is the way they wrap their style of folk metal around other metal styles. They do it with great gusto and apparent glee. There’s nothing makeshift or undisciplined about their compositions, however. When they do their genre-merging it is a tight, cohesive process that results in an excellent selection, sequence and performance of all the songs on the album.
“Rebel Against Me” carries some harsh messages but they are delivered with exuberant, bouncy melodies. This makes for very easy and enjoyable listening. The varied range of vocals is highly proficient and engaging. The backing from all the instruments is as good as I’d have hoped for after Cruadalach’s previous and also excellent work. Throughout the album, the traditional instruments consistently build on the folk elements while the metal instruments drive along insistently.
Track 1 is folk thrash metal. Track 2 is richly laced with symphonic and heavy metal. The vocal style on Track 3 could be metalcore. And so it goes throughout the album, which even adds a generous touch of punk on Track 7 and a neoclassical approach on Track 11. All round, a most satisfying experience for a folk metal-loving Mammal. 4.2
A Metal State of Mind Score – 3.1 out of 5
Meet Cruadalach on Facebook.