Saturday, December 17, 2011

Fuck The Celts Right In Their Tír na nÓg.

So I've been getting some shit talk over on NCS because I don't like Celtic folk metal.  I was even told I had to turn in my folk metal card for that very reason.

The thing is, with the possible exception of the lovely and talented Loreena McKennitt, I really don't like Celtic folk music.

"This is my 'fuck you' face."

It's weird, though.  I mean it's not like I don't like bagpipes and flute in my folk metal.  That's crazy talk.  That's like saying I don't like Swedes in my death metal.  I'd like to blame it on over-saturation by my hippie parents (my dad is a Druid, see) but even that's not it...if they're guilty of over-saturating me with anything, it's the Bee-Gees.  And if I pride myself on anything besides my luxuriously silky pelt of back-hair, it's open-mindedness.  So I decided to scour the internet to see if I could find some Celtic-inspired folk metal that didn't make me want to kill some blue-painted hobo with a stone handaxe. That's an anthropology joke.

This is called a "celt".

Before you say anything, some wise wizard-beards have already mentioned Eluveitie, Cruachan, Bran Barr, Aes Dana, Waylander, and Suidakra.  All of whom I've listened to, and none of whom won me over.  And let us not forget the British bastards who started it all, the (thankfully not-so-aptly named) band Skyclad.

I want to love Skyclad, I really do.  I mean they're the grandfathers of the genre.  And with their wry, tongue-in-cheek humour (albums like "Folkémon", songs like "Great Blow for a Day Job", etc.) I really, really want to love them.  But it's that folk stumbling block that I can't get past.

Skyclad - "Swords of A Thousand Men" (Tenpole Tudor cover)

I think my biggest issue with Celtic folk metal is that it tends to run toward symphonic/power metal and clean singing.  But surely, with my love of folk music in general, bagpipes, flutes, drinking and metal...SURELY there's at least a few Celtic-inspired folk metal bands out there that I can enjoy.  So awa' we gae...


I think these guys probably lean more towards the black end of the metal spectrum but there is a definite Celtic theme and some flute playing going on here.  Of course you could argue that this doesn't really count since the presence of actual folk music is pretty minimal but hey, cut me some slack.  I'm trying. And you can't argue that this LOOKS pretty fucking Celtic.

Celtachor - "The Rise of Lugh"


Further proof that metal + booze is a winning formula, this band o' Spaniards mixes Celtic-sounding traditional music with songs about drunkenness and have the added bonus of actually sounding more like folk metal than Celtachor, so I think I can get away with this one.

Celtibeerian, "Praise To The Vineyards"

Heol Telwen

Again, probably cheating.  Black metal from France.  But listen to this track; you can't deny the Celtic folkishness in there.  I also defy you not to think of Tetris while it's playing.  Good luck.

Heol Telwen - "Kan Ar Kern"

So there you go, some Celtic metal I don't hate.  Suck flaming balls!  I'M KEEPING MY CARD!


Ørsaeth said...

Heol Telwen is awesome! I forgot about them! But fuck you! I wasn't thinking of Tetris at all until you mentioned it!

I liked Celtachor too. Not sure about Celtibeerian

Trollfiend said...

Bua ha ha! My evil knows no boundaries!

islander said...

Wait! Wait! There's a band with a song called ""Great Blow for a Day Job" and you don't love them? This does not compute. Who the fuck cares what they sound like?

Also, as far as Celtic metal and awesome names go, I'm not sure it can get any more Celtic than this (from South Africa of all places):

They actually sound better on the recordings.

Also, how bout Eternal Helcaraxe from Ireland? Maybe not folky enough?

amelia said...

I just listened to an original Skyclad track and it sounds super thrash metal-like. Basically, thrash with a few violins thrown in every so often, plus maybe a catchy folk intro. So overall not really folky, and also the vocals are extremely thrash metal-like. Strange.

Trollfiend said...


Haggis and Bong: that would have been the most awesome thing I have ever heard if not for that fucking trombone.

Eternal Helcaraxe: Close enough for me.

Trollfiend said...

@Amelia: would love to know what track that was! Everything I've heard from them has been very folky with little or no metal elements and clean vocals.

amelia said...

The Sky Beneath my Feet:
It starts getting thrash-like about a minute and a half in.

islander said...

Check out Haggis & Bong's first release, the awzumly named "Fire In the Bowl". It's just two pipers shredding plus the drummer. They added a third piper plus bass and trombone more recently.

islander said...

Might as well recommend one of the earlier Haggis & Bong tunes -- "Spandex (It's A Privilege Not A Right)" -- streaming at their MySpace:

Trollfiend said...

@ Amelia - thanks for that link! Seems like I missed out on some of their earlier albums which are definitely more metal than their later stuff.

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