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Cnoc An Tursa - "The Giants Of Auld" (CD)

Cnoc An Tursa - "The Giants Of Auld" CD cover image

"The Giants Of Auld" track listing:

1. The Piper O’Dundee
2. The Lion of Scotland
3. Bannockburn
4. Hail Land of My Fathers
5. Ettrick Forest in November
6. The Spellbound Knight
7. In Shadowland
8. Winter-A Dirge
9. Culloden Moor
10. Bl?r na h-Eaglaise Brice

Reviewed by on March 20, 2013

"...Cnoc An Tursa’s debut album is already on the level of quite a few extreme metal acts that have been refining their sound for decades."

Being released as part of Candlelight Records’ “cult” series for developing artists, Cnoc An Tursa’s debut album is already on the level of quite a few extreme metal acts that have been refining their sound for decades. “The Giants of Auld” is a surprise hit for first quarter 2013 releases, and one that will resonate with metal fans throughout the year and beyond.

Representing the Scottish metal scene, Cnoc An Tursa is an interesting blend of different styles that satisfies on nearly every level. Although tagged as a folk metal release, “The Giants of Auld” is focused more heavily on the guitars and vocals than on the symphonic sounds. These tracks maintain a strong bass presence, work acoustic guitars in without getting the softer sounds lost in the mix, and there is an incredibly solid balance between the folk and metal sides. The album doesn’t really have any down time where the heaviness gets lost, with the energy always running strong and high.

Thematically, the band’s debut full-length is focused on Scottish history and poetry. Those who aren’t interested in that sort of thing don’t have to look elsewhere for their metal fix however, as the vocals are extreme enough to keep the heads banging regardless of lyrical content. Front man Alan Buchan’s throaty growls are clearly rooted in the raspy black metal sound, but there’s a gruffness to it that brings to mind melodic death metal acts. While polished and effective, the vocals unfortunately don’t have much variation and there’s no clean singing to balance everything, so the growling does become fairly repetitive by the time the last song ends.

Vocal issues aside, Cnoc An Tursa has developed a formula that unquestionably works. Black/death fans will dig the music and vocals, the folk touches add another dimension to the music, and lovers of Scottish history get icing on the cake with the lyrics.

Highs: Excellent balance of extreme metal and folk sounds.

Lows: The vocals get a bit repetitive, with no variation to be found.

Bottom line: This new outfit expertly blends folk and black/death metal like an established pro band.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)