Sunday, 15 September 2013

Cnoc An Tursa - The Giants of Auld


This review is the first in a series of reviews that were originally wrote for and published in Ghost Cult Magazine, earlier this year. Having remained in contact with the editor of Ghost Cult, I was given permission to publish these reviews here. I'm starting out with my very first review for this Internet based magazine, The Giants of Auld by Cnoc An Tursa. The Giants of Auld was released in February via Candlelight Records and was the debut release for this Scottish black metal four-piece.

Tracklist:-

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.  Blar Na H-Eaglaise Brice

The Giants of Auld begins with a folk-inspired intro called The Piper O’ Dundee, which features traditional strings and woodwind, before Cnoc An Tursa’s melodious guitar enters the fray and they burst into The Lion of Scotland. They intersperse raw black-metal vocals with folk-inspired guitar and pounding drums. Their music is amazingly upbeat and powerful, and where bands like Turisas and Alestorm have become somewhat of a joke in recent years, Cnoc An Tursa manage to pull off a sound that is interesting and one that befits their home nation. It doesn’t take you long to realise why Cnoc An Tursa was picked up by Candlelight Records. They have elements of Dark Tranquillity-style death metal within their sound at times and the cleanliness of the production on The Giants Of Auld make it a very good listen.

Bannockburn and Hail Land of My Fathers are heavier songs, but they still feature traditional undertones thanks to the keyboard of Rene McDonald Hill. The addition of choral vocal textures in the background of Hail Land of My Fathers provides a subtly haunting backdrop but the great guitar harmonies shine through the dark. The songs featured here seem to pass by very quickly thanks to the creativity of the band and you are held captive by the textures and images that their music weaves. The second half of the album begins with the elegant siren song of The Spellbound Knight. The drums seem more raging as the intro strides on and more rousing melodies flow from the guitars. This is the longest song on the album at nearly seven minutes and while being predominantly mid-paced, it is more majestic that what has come before it. Some of the lead work on display during In Shadowland is immense to the point that it stirs your soul more than you could imagine.

Cnoc An Tursa use their homeland in Scotland as a force for positive ideas and musical influence that seems to flow throughout The Giants of Auld. It’s not often that you comes across a band that manage to sound so authentic and true to their roots, while staying on the right side of the line and not coming across as contrite. Cnoc An Tursa do this really well and as the final song Blar Na H-Eaglaise Brice fills your ears with traditional flute/Whistle melodies you realise that you’ve been listening to something very special.

Candlelight Records are streaming the entire album on their bandcamp page. You can listen to it below:-



This review originally appeared in Issue 6 of Ghost Cult Magazine. You can read it in it's original format here - http://issuu.com/scratchthesurface/docs/ghost_cult_magazine_issue_6

Make sure you also check out the rest of the issue and head over to GC's website here - http://www.ghostcultmag.com/

You can purchase The Giants of Auld from Candlelight's webstore via Plastichead here - http://www.plastichead.com/

Cnoc An Tursa Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/cnocantursa
Candlelight Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/candlelightrecords

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