At last! I thought it was never going to happen. A metal band has finally covered Follow Me Up to Carlow (or The Marching Song of Fiach Mac Hugh), my favourite folk tune! And who did it for me? None other than the folk metal veterans Cruachan from Ireland. My gratitude goes out to Cruachan for this one - thank you!
Up til now, my collection has contained the Cruachan albums 'The Middle Kingdom' (2000) and 'Pagan' (2004), and I might as well be upfront and tell you that Cruachan never have been my favourite band. The reasons for this being the thin black metal production of the albums and the vocal performance of singer Keith, who in my ears sounds rather strained.
That said, 'Blood for the Blood God' is an impressive display of furious metal, perfectly balanced with the folk music that runs through the veins of these Irish folk. What you sense with Cruachan is that they could do both of the two worlds without the other without failing miserably, and that's probably the reason why they manage the balance between the two genres like few others.
Also, 'Blood for the Blood God' sounds heavier than on the two other albums I know, and that certainly suits Cruachan's mix of black metal, thrash, heavy metal and folk. This kind of music deserves a big, fat production and mix, not a black metal egg slicer sound. Period. Check out the tune Beren and Luthien to hear the kind of metal bass sound I like - there's nothing black metal about that!
This is an album all fans of Celtic metal music ought to check out. It has good, dynamic songs and lots of diversity in the shape of female vocals, bagpipes, mandolins, cellos, tin whistles, bouzouki, bodhrán, violins and, of course, heavy f*cking metal. Nice one.