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Review: Cruachan - Blood on the Black Robe
Blood on the Black Robe

Label: Candlelight Records
Year released: 2011
Duration: 58:06
Tracks: 11
Genre: Folk Metal


Review online: April 24, 2011
Reviewed by: Adam Kohrman
Readers' Rating
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Rated 3/5 (60%) (15 Votes)

Any reviewer will tell you that reviewing certain albums only presents a chore. There isn't much to say, as the album isn't exactly praiseworthy, but it certainly isn't an easy one to pounce on. I knew that would be the case with the new Cruachan album Blood on the Black Robe. These guys have been wavering somewhere in the muddled extreme folk metal scene for quite some time now, with some fanfare, but little flair or spark.

I can only handle so much folk metal, and this pushes my limit. As fun as the music can be, the "jig-inducing" fiddle riffs can only go so far. Yeah, they're fun – but they aren't anything more than that, and only "fun" creates music with limited emotional potency. These bits are like the easily danceable bits you'll hear from bands like Finntroll and Svartsot, and done even better by bands like Heidevolk. Cruachan are too harsh and abrasive to be fully compared to those acts, however. With tinges of black metal, and shouted chants piled into their folky base, Cruachan do separate themselves from their myriad of folk metal compadres, but only slightly.

The biggest problem here is that while there's an occasional quick and enjoyable folk passage, it's really cliché. Beyond that, Cruachan don't have much to offer. When trying to be extreme, the band has no place for their vocals. They became over-emphasized on top of minimal instrumentation, resulting in a poorly executed chant-like sound. It's tiresome and emotionless. While trying to incorporate more influences into the staid folk metal sound is commendable, Cruachan muddle their influences with misdirection.

Folk metal is nearing its end as a dominant metal genre. Hell, it might already be at its end. Cruachan are riding the final coattails of the scene. Frankly, there isn't enough left of a scene left to keep a middling band like Cruachan popular.

More about Cruachan...
Review: Blood on the Black Robe (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: The Morrigan's Call (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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