Sunday, June 29, 2008

CRUACHAN: (2004) Pagan @ 256k

If you are thinking about picking up a copy of Pagan, it is best to assume that you are at least somewhat familiar with Cruachan's sound. Having said that, Cruachan still continues to amaze with their fourth full-length release. They manage to make a return to their metal roots, but still keep the folk sound that defines them so well. As a result, Pagan is very similar to Tuatha Na Gael in a few ways. First and most importantly, there is more of a metal sound to this album (as compared to The Middle Kingdom and Folk-Lore), very similar to the sound of Tuatha Na Gael. However, there is still plenty of folk sound to it. That is probably what makes this release the most versatile: it can please the most diehard metal fans, but also those fans who have grown to love the folk aspect of Cruachan. Second, there are a lot of covers of songs from Tuatha Na Gael (Viking Slayer, which borrows a lot from Return, Erinsong, and The Fall of Gondolin). I am by no means saying that this is a bad thing. All three of these songs are very well done, and probably my three favorites on the CD. Last and somewhat unfortunately, the recording quality is also similar to that of Tuatha Na Gael. Of course, it does add a nice feel to the CD since Cruachan's only other nearly straight metal release sounds similar in this regard. The only thing that bothered me was that there is far less flute music in the songs on Pagan as compared to their other albums. This is due to the fact that the flutist was on-and-off with the group during recording, so they can hardly be blamed, but it still detracts somewhat. I would recommend this release to anybody who is a fan of either end of Cruachan's spectrum. Both the metal side and the folk side are represented significantly and represented well. Additionally, to clear up any confusion, the track list is out of order.
--- By sliphsc "sliphsc"

.. Michael Collins
.. Pagan
.. The Gael
.. Ard Rí Na Heireann
.. The March to Cluain Tairbh
.. Viking Slayer
.. 1014 AD
.. Some Say the Devil is Dead
.. Summoning of the Sidhe
.. A Thousand Years
.. Lament for the Wild Geese
.. Erinsong
.. The Fall of Gondolin


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