Introducing the music of Brother Sea

The band Runrig had Donnie Munro, The Housemartins had Paul Heaton, Big Country had Stuart Adamson, and Brother Sea have Kris Lannen! What a voice! Irish stand-up comedian Aisling Bea once joked that all Irish people are born with a built-in tear in their voice, that they can instantly switch on when they start singing. Well, Kris must have some Irish genes in him then, because he has that same ability. Just listen to the opening lines of Triskele and you can’t help but be swept away by his beautiful, round, rich voice. As if he has the eternal emptiness of the sea embedded in his vocal cords. Amazing! But Brother Sea are more than that, much more. So it is high time to introduce the music of this stunning Celtic-folk band to you.
Brother Sea is a Cornish band, combining the talents of the folk duo Harbottle & Jonas (well known for their beautiful singer/songwriter folk, reminiscent of the German folk band Cara, with harmonies that go all the way back to the traditions of Crosby, Stills, & Nash); violinist/vocalist Richard Trethewey ( Didjan, The Rowan Tree ); the up and coming talent of violinist/vocalist and viola player Annie Baylis ( Winter Mountain, Harbottle & Jonas); and of course the aforementioned Kris Lannen.
Together they started writing music inspired by the vastness of nature, life in the Cornish countryside, and the eternal beauty of the seas that surround Cornwall on almost all sides (Kris Lannen is a keen surfer as well as a talented musician). Still working on their first full-length album the band started uploading their songs on Bandcamp, the first being the self-titled EP Brother Sea in July 2019.

I already mentioned the 4th song from that EP, Triskele, with its stunning vocal intro, the harmonies being a true balsam for your ears. Brother Sea opens the EP in the same stunning way, with just Kris’ voice singing the first lines before the band joins in to play All As One in the most lovely of ways. Everything just fits perfectly: the gentle guitar chords, the beautiful violin melodies weaving in and out, the harmonies, Freya Jonas adding her voice to the rich vocals of Kris. It all results in a truly beautiful, musical treat. Everything is in perfect balance. All parts of the music are there to serve the song, to serve the lyrics. Less is more sometimes, and in this case, less is way more!

The song Triskele performed in a home session by Brother Sea

That very high standard is kept up throughout EVERY song Bother Sea has released so far. The band introduced their first mini-album with these words: ‘A self-titled EP and introduction to the ocean drenched Celtic-folk sounds of Brother Sea.‘ Well, the second song Curious Shore has that description written all over it. This is the emptiness of the shore caught in music, the vastness of the beautiful ocean captured in words, the dance of the seagulls written in notes, and I’m loving it. The band themselves on this song: ‘A song written about wild swimming. It was inspired by a group of young mums called the Salty Sisters from Porthleven who swim together every morning.’ And that is the true magic of Brother Sea: the combination of beautiful music with the power of poetic lyrics.

Songs like the beautiful earworm Triskele from the first mini-album, or the singles Circadian (released in April 2020) and September (released in October of 2020) – they are all singer/songwriting gems. Thoughts and observations molded into poetic impressions of everyday life and deep love, crusted by the salt of the Cornish coasts. This is folk music lifted to theater standards. This is folk I want to inhale, sitting in a velvet theater seat, drowning in the beauty of it all.
There are two artists that keep popping up while listening to Brother Sea: Runrig and Milow. Brother Sea’s songs sit just at the crossroads of those two artists. Melodious gentle ballads with a delicious folk sauce poured all over it, arranged and produced in such a lovely way. Listen to that cool ‘ Bob GeldofThis Is The World Calling‘ choir suddenly piping up on Circadian, or the jig suddenly popping up halfway through the song. This is like candy for the ears.

The latest single September

Oll’ Vel Onen and Trodhydhyek are the songs All As One and Circadian but then sang in Kernewek, the Celtic language of Cornwall. The last song you’ll find on Bandcamp is Brother Sea’s latest single September and well, what can I say? Only that I hope a full-length album is going to come out really soon. For me, Brother Sea is one of the best bands I have heard this year. I truly hope this band will follow the path of success already walked by Amy Macdonald and Rachel Croft as their music deserves to be heard by a broad audience, starting with us, lucky listeners here at CeltCast. Hop over to the band’s Bandcamp page and dwell with me on the waves of this melancholic ocean-bound Celtic-folk band. And to those of you who are planning to go to Keltfest 2021, Brother Sea has been confirmed as one of the bands playing there, so you’re gonna be in for a treat! Guess where you will find me?!


Editor: Iris
Picture: Brother Sea

Sowulo – Grima (2020) review

Once there was, and once there wasn’t.
One thing comes to pass, and the other doesn’t.
Two families fought before men walk the earth.
Out the peace they then wrath, followed unlively birth.
After many moons bloodshed, spears set aside.
In a great hall, they met to turn the red tide.
A cauldron was set in the midst of the thing. The anguish went out and the spittle went in.
From saliva of all, the wisest became, destined to fall and Kvasir his name….

With these words Grima, Sowulo’s new album, starts. A rather unconventional way for a Nordic folk band, but Sowulo was never meant to be a conventional band in the first place. Starting out as a musical project founded by Faber Hornbach to celebrate the pagan holidays, it developed into a musical journey deep into our pagan heritage. (Which for me as a dutch person mean the times of the Batavi and the Frisians, part of the west- and North Germanic tribes that inhabited western and northern Europe around the Roman times). And we are doing it through Faber’s eyes, traveling with him to the days of the Northern Germanic tribes. The times were stories were told of the worlds flanking Yggdrasil. Storys of the plights of the gods and their interactions with dwarves, giants, elves, and all the other mythical creatures living in the nine worlds

Just a year ago Faber surprised us with Mann, a personal Nordic folk album, really powerful and tribal, in which he searched for his inner warrior, lover, king and musician, in a way discovering his own person and his place in the ever-turning circle of life. Mann ended up being a very intense and beautiful pagan folk album, sung in Anglo-Saxon. An album that took me a while to fully understand, but I now count as one of the better Nordic folk albums in my collection.
Fast forward a cycle of the sun and we have a new Sowulo album. Part of it already came out as a digital album on Bandcamp, and again it was a huge surprise as it consists of stories, not songs! And not just any old stories. No, Faber and storyteller Niek van Eck traveled back in time to the days of Asgard, when Odin ruled the nine worlds, and Ragnarok was just a small ripple in the future to come. Stories that ended up being written down in the Edda, the basis for all our knowledge of the Nordic myths and legends. Three of those stories made it onto Grima. Three stories based around the main theme of faith and destiny. Especially the futile struggle to escape your own destiny, be you a giant, man or god.
Triumph Over Tears, the third story for example, tells about the faith of Baldr, the son of Odin and his wife Frigg. It starts with the discovery of the Gods that Baldr was destined to die, and in their futile attempt to stop this from happening, they actually became responsible for his death! A death that otherwise may not even have happened.

Spātle Ǣghwās, the first single inspired by Grima is based on the ‘Saliva of all’ storytel-track

Gungnirs Gap, the fourth story on Grima, is even clearer in its message. It tells of Odin who discovers that the Norns, the ones weaving and breaking the threads of life, manage to laugh at faith while doing so, totally bewildering Odin, who in the end discovers that even for him, the mightiest god there is, trying to avoid faith is futile.
The opening track Saliva Of All and Beguiled By Blood Brew together form the longest story on Grima. It tells about the faith of Kvasir. The wisest of all, whose fate was to be killed by greed, and whose blood was turned into the mead of poetry, the mead that even to this day gives us the beauty of poetry, music, and stories.

It is clear that Niek van Eck (left), our narrator in this world of ancient sagas did indeed ask Odin for a drop of inspiration, as did Faber because Grima is as impressive an album as Mann is in its own unique way. From the first sentences of Saliva Of All, it is clear that Niek is a gifted story teller. He has a pleasant, deep, strong voice that fits these old Nordic stories perfectly. All told in English, his stories manage to captivate me time and time again. Even now, after listening to them for a fifth time, writing this review. He knows perfectly well when to slow the pace of his story, or when to speed it up to keep you captivated, and also when to change his tone of voice to emphasize a certain phrase or sentence.

Faber in his own right complements Niek very well. He took the stories and composed music under it, creating a perfect soundtrack to support every story Niek is telling. The best compliment I can give Faber is that the music never takes the foreground. While listening you tend to forget about it although you know it is there. The drums; the nyckelharpa; the strokes of the jouhikko; the gentle touch of the lyre; and the mythical sounds of the synth play some lovely repetitive themes that fit the stories very well. They lay a beautiful carpet on which Nieks words find a perfect resting place, changing rhythm and tune to emphasize every new chapter Niek is starting in his stories, but they never take over.
Only at the end of the last story, at the end of Gungnirs gap, Faber finally lets the music flow freely and lets the instruments tell their own story of fate, destiny and human nature. A perfect ending to a lovely storytelling album.
Now Grima, in the form it was released on April 2020, would never have made it to the CeltCast review pages, as we are an acoustic music station. But luckily on the digipack, there are two bonus tracks, and they deserve just as much attention as the four beautiful stories I told you of above.

With Spātle Ǣghwās and Fæcele, Faber took the musical themes he used in the stories and transformed them into two lovely songs, sung in old Anglo-Saxon. That might sound a bit odd for a nordic folk album at first, an old English language? Not if you know the history of it. Anglo-Saxon was the language spoken by the Germanic tribes living in the north of Germany all the way up to the top of Denmark. It was those tribes who, together with the Frisians, from 375 AD onwards made the jump to east England after the Romans left there, driving the original Celtic inhabitants of England outwards to Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, where Gaelic still lives today. So it is actually a north Germanic language

The first thing you notice when listening to Spātle Ǣghwās is the truly stunning voice of Emilie Lorentzen, best known as the backing vocalist of Euzen and Heilung. She lifts the already very powerful, atmospheric folk of Sowulo into new heights, her voice effortlessly shifting from angelic hights to intensely piercing, she puts the crown on this historic folk ballad, inspired by the story of the birth of Kvasir.
Fæcele is a faster song that’s perfectly in line with the music we heard on Mann. It shares the strong male vocals, the nyckelharpa, and drums from Mann, but adds a certain feminine touch to it, especially through the classical influences and atmospheric vocals halfway in the song.
While the music under the four stories is played by Faber alone, on Spātle Ǣghwās and Fæcele he is joined again by his fellow bandmate and Celtic harp player Chloe Bakker. Furthermore, we hear Rikke Linsen (Pyrolysis) on Violin and Heleen de Jonge on Cello.
Faber has written yet another chapter in the story of Sowulo, a story that is as exciting as it is unexpected. I can’t wait for what the next page of their story will bring, I guess I will just have to wait till the wheel of life turns once more. But until then I will keep enjoying the ancient myths of the north, and the ancient sounds of the Northern hemisphere, clearly touched by the meade of poetry, the blood of Kvasir himself.


(For those who can’t get enough of the old Nordic saga, here is one more, recorded in 2016, just before Sol was released. In this case the narator is Eugene, and it is told in Dutch, but with English subtitles.
Enjoy! )


Editor: Sara
Cover art:Tim Elfring
Cliff de Booy (1)
Rebeca Franko Valle (2)
Samantha Evans (3 and Grima video covers)

Credits Ginnungagap Story video:
Video production by Jasper van Gheluwe | Deer and Wolf Productions
Soundtrack by Faber Horbach | Auroch Audio Productions

Gói – Vainolaanen (2019) & Saivo (2020)

Gói is a young and very promising dark historical folk project that Ilona discovered on Bandcamp. The and started out as a trio, consisting of Rauni Hautamäki (composer, multi-instrumentalist and vocals), Samuli Ylinen (sound engineer) and Iida Mäkelä (composer, talharpa, mouth harp, percussion, vocals), the latter recently leaving the band as a full bandmember, but still involved with bits of Gói’s music as a (to quote Rauni): ‘Dear devil behind our back‘.
Musically the band can be put under the ever-growing Nordic historialc folk umbrella. The band themselves on the subject: ‘- We create music with an ancient touch. We aim to enliven the image of Western Finnish history by telling stories and using the South Ostrobothnian dialect of our home region. Our music aims to create authentic and intensive soundscapes.
Well, every word of that is true, and they do it in a truly captivating way. Time to discover the beautiful musical world of Gói and I can assure you, it contains a couple of surprises.
The first surprise is the theme. You would expect Scandinavian historical folk bands to be influenced only by Nordic mythology. Stories of Asgard, Odin, Loki, Yggdrasil. This is not the case for Gói.
The musicians originate from South Ostrobothnia – a region in the southwest of Finland- where between 400 and 800 AD a prosperous centre of Sami and Finnish tribes could be found. Although overshadowed by our modern-day interest in the Viking culture, it was a really important trading centre even before the Viking times, placed right between the old Scandinavian tribes, living in modern Norway and Sweden on one side and the Russian mainland on the other. It is that combined Sami and old Scandinavian background that is really important in the music of Gói. Their name itself, for example, comes from Gói Thorrisdotter, the daughter of Thorr, King of Götaland, Finland, and Kvenland who can be found in some old Scandinavian saga.
The themes in their music pick up elements of both Sami- and Scandinavian mythology. I’ll pick up on the second single Saivo-released in April 2020- first, because it is a perfect example of this mix. It starts out as I expect it to from a Nordic folk band: dark, tribal, and ancient. A deep drum, hushed breathing, and an eerie, low sound lead you through the sound effects of someone or something walking in the deep snow leading into a watery cave? Intriguing, to say the least. In an interview our Cato did with Gói’s main composer and vocalist Rauni Hautamäki she explains how she creates these wonderful soundscapes and songs:

Reading the elaborate liner notes on Bandcamp, I learn the song tells the story of a Noaidi, a Sami shaman, traveling in the form of a blindworm to Saivo, one of the Sami worlds of the dead. Among the Finnish Sami tribes, it was believed Saivo could be found under special double-bottomed lakes. On the surface it would be a calm pool of water, but under its surface existed another realm, upside down, where all manners of deities and spirits of the dead resided, and the way to reach it was through a small hole as Rauni explains in the next soundclip.

As I already said the history of their homeland, South Ostrobothnia plays a big part in Gói’s music, making it a true historical folk band. A second thing that you will notice straight away are the impressive soundscapes the band creates, which equal those of Wadruna, Heilung, and Sowulo. If you consider the extremely limited budget the band had to work with, the sound on both Saivo and Vainolaanen is even more impressive. Huge credit to the young sound engineer Samuli Ylinen. Based on these two songs I predict he has a bright future ahead of him in music. But not only him, because as Rauni explains a LOT of thought goes into creating those soundscapes.

Well, listen to Saivo and you will hear all of it. After the eerie intro, I expected the drums, the music, to carry on at a slow, tribal and mystical pace, as is quite common in the dark folk genre, but not Gói. The beat is relatively fast, heavy, and quite danceable, almost trance/ambient like. Although all the typical dark folk elements are there: deer bone percussion; mouth harp; dark, low soundscapes; whispered vocals; and intense misty breaks in the music, it is that dance rhythm that makes this a really original, catchy track. Well worth checking out.

The 2019 single Vainolaanen is even better, even more intense. Deep male vocals, strong drums, and whispered female vocals instantly fill your ears, dragging you deep into the cold, immense Finnish forests. The ancient music echoes between the shadows of the old pine trees, the spirits of the night hidden in the white blur of a freezing snowstorm. Somewhere a tribe gathers around their shaman, commencing an ancient ritual. Deep, dark, and immensely impressive: that is how Gói sound on Vainolaanen. Is it a hunting song, or a warrior one? I can’t tell, but I can tell you it’s intense – very intense! Just put on your headphones, listen and you will feel the pace of the hunt creep into every inch of your body. Again the rhythm is slightly faster and more danceable than I normally expect, bringing the music close to Kati Rán’s song Suurin, from her epic Lys album.
The music of Gói has that same breathtaking quality: it is intense, the compositions are good, the vocals at times stunning, and the lyrics drenched with ancient Nordic mythology. Both singles Saivo and Vainolaanen make a really promising debut, one that makes me crave more, much more. Will there be?


Interview: Cato Verhoeven
Editor: Iris
– Valtteri Mäkelä (1,2,3,5)
– Rauni Hautamäki (4)

Irdorath – Ad Astra (2012) Review

Do you believe in love at first sight? I do! It happened several times actually. But it has been a while since anybody blew me away so completely as the Belarussian band Irdorath. What? You thought I was talking about my love life? Nooo, I wouldn’t want to swap my lovely girlfriend with anybody. It was actually her who started this new ‘crush’ by pointing me towards Irdorath’s amazing ‘performance’ at this year’s Castlefest home edition. Recorded at night in the forest, Irdorath totally WOWed me. And I wasn’t the only one. The whole stream exploded from all the amazed reactions: -Who are those guys!’ -‘They sound amazing!’- ‘What a cool set up!’ -‘Please bring them to Castlefest next year!’ -‘I love them’ That was the tone of the stream during their half an hour set.
A couple of lucky viewers that had already seen this impressive band on German festivals or the Dutch Middeleeuws Winschoten festival gladly confirmed they had been as impressive live as they looked on that video. And I had only one thing on my mind: Get their albums in as fast as possible, listen to them, and introduce this amazing band to you all. Soooo, This is Irdorath!!!

Irdorath’s story also begins as a love story, with bandleaders Nadezdha and Vladimir meeting each other as students, not only to start a medieval performance group but also to become a couple. (They even married on stage, but I’ll come back to that in a later review) In 2011 the two drop their day jobs, move to Minsk, and start turning an abandoned building around to a performance theatre for historical events. Early on in the project, Anton Shnip joins in and the basis of Irdorath is formed. At the start the trio focuses on a catchy mix of typical German-style medieval music with a real dance feel, a powerful mix of rauschpfeife, bagpipe, chalumeau, and fast upbeat percussion, littered with orchestral moments and intense tender breaks in the music.

From the start it’s obvious that Irdorath don’t do subtle. The intro is as theatrical as you can expect from a medieval performance street art group. A thunderstorm opens the CD with a lone bagpipe leading us into the music. A loud musical BANG introduces a huge film score type of choir. And then we are off. Cool dance beats get your feet going immediately. A catchy bagpipe melody leads your brain into its happy state and the film choir returns for maximum impact. There are worse ways to start an album, trust me. Listen to opening track Rondo and you’re hooked. Permanently!

The second song, Scudrinka, is a Macedonian traditional dance that got the same Irdorath treatment. The acoustic drums give the song a lovely groove. Fast, powerful but really danceable. The strong sound of the bagpipes and rauschpfeifen, so typical of the German style of medieval music (think of bands like Corvus Corax or Prima Nocta ) sticks in your brain like glue, but its the Eastern European flavour that makes this music so interesting. Where a true German-style medieval band, like Corvus Corax, can seem to be just loud and in your face, Irdorath’s music is much more diverse and dynamic.
Sure, Irdorath can sound exactly like Corvus Corax. A song like Bard’s Tale or the midtempo ‘waltz’ Saderalladon would do well on any MPS festival, but there is much more to their music. That sudden break in Scudinka for example, where suddenly the wall of sound drops down to a single beat and an exquisite eastern guitar or sitar melody. Really cool. In general, their sound is also lower than I am used to. Less ‘shrieking’ and percussionist Anton puts WAY more groove into his drumbeats than a regular German-style band would do.

With the 5th song Tourdion, the musical adventure truly starts. We leave the German medieval festivals and go to the East. Another film score type intro sets the mood, and sure, the start of the song is what you would expect, rauschpfeifen playing that all too well-known medieval tune, (with a beautiful orchestra under it by the way), but this wouldn’t be Irdorath if there wasn’t a twist. Suddenly Nadezhda, with nothing else than a simple piano, takes the whole thing down. As if John -music was my first love- Miles suddenly takes over. The orchestral section that follows is so powerful. This is by far the most impressive, most grand version of this medieval classic that I ever heard. This song alone proves how good Irdorath are as musicians and arrangers. Truly stunning. And they have no problem stepping it up another few notches live on stage, adding a 4-piece ‘choir’ to this 2015 live performance. How I wish I could see this being performed live myself, if only just once.

That’s the true strength in Irdorath’s music: their arrangements. The space they leave in their sound. Although they often work with two bagpipes (with rauschpfeifen attached to it in true German medieval style); powerful drums; a powerhouse of a voice; and that rich deep sound of the Slidgeridoo sometimes appearing, they are able to give their songs room to breathe. Be it in interesting musical breaks with sudden twists; clever stereo effects and well-chosen placement of the instruments in the sound; or those Eastern European influences effortlessly blending in their sound. Even in those power sections, Irdorath manages to sound ‘acoustic’ and that is what I love about them. That and the variety in ideas.

Did I mention a slidgeridoo and a powerhouse voice just now? Yep, in Ketri we hear both of them prominently for the first time. The song itself is Irdoraths interpretation of a Romani love song, and it takes the band even further away from that initial German Medieval style, deeper and deeper into Eastern Europe, even into Turkish music at some points.
In Cypridis In Vito the band uses those cool stereo effects and even some Medieval-type choral singing, before they throw out the whole musical rulebook, blending all the influences I mentioned before in one cool, typically Irdorath song.

Ad Astra is an album that is almost impossible to describe. It starts as a German-style Medieval party and ends as an Eastern European/ Arabian/Mongolian pagan folk-rock opera. The song Ad Astra is a pure treat for those who love upbeat experimental power folk music.

If you like your folk music Celtic, gentle, and peaceful you might want to tread carefully. But if you’re up for an adventure, and your record collection contains music from bands as varied as Dead Can Dance (especially their 1990 album Aion); Prima Nocta; Corus Corvax; Jimmy Page and Robert Plant at the time of their No Quarter album; Irfan (just listen to the title song Ad Astra for some beautiful typical Irfan magic), and yes even Ayreon (listen to those electric guitars suddenly appearing in Nupla Nu Te Lasa), then definitely give this wonderful debut album a try. You’ll be hooked. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…


Editor: Sara
pictures and video’s: Irdorath

Irdorath – Wild (2017) review

The second review I’m posting of Irdorath is actually their third CD called Wild. Where their first album, Ad Astra, is their ‘dance’ album, and their second album, Dreamcatcher, is their alternative-rock-meets-ethnic-folk record, this one is their most in-your-face album yet. You could say on Wild their metal side is coming out, although the band themselves prefer the term fantasy-power-folk. And I do understand that. Metal, as a term, is so limiting for the music Irdorath recorded on this album. Just as on Ad Astra (2012 ) and Dreamcatcher (2015 ) Irdorath is exploring a big part of Europe’s musical folk world again. A world that, on this record, this spans from German medieval sounds through Spanish guitar music into eastern European music. From the waves of the Caspian Sea to the vast deserts of the Mongolian steppe. If you love your music powerful, diverse, and prog metallesque, you are in for a treat.

Just as on Ad Astra, a cool, theatrical intro leads you into Irdorath’s musical world. A world that compared to Ad Astra is much wilder and darker. The biggest difference is in the drums. Where Ad Astra had a groovy dance beat, the double percussion on this album leans much more towards metal.
Take the opening track Varazheya for instance. If I didn’t know any better I would say that I hear a double bass drum there. And a super tight at that. With the strong eastern feel of the track a comparison with the Tunisian metal band Myrath quickly comes to mind. But as I said, Irdorath’s music is even more complex, even Leaning towards prog-folk metal. And the most impressive part, just like Coppelius they manage to get that strong wild sound using acoustic instruments!!!! Really impressive, and really clever. Using the strength of the acoustic rauschpfeife; the chalumeau; double percussion; and the power of their bagpipes (made even louder by attaching rauschpfeifen to it as Corvus Corax and Prima Nocta do as well), the sound is so much more dynamic. So much clearer as well. The lack of distortion means you can hear every single note, giving the music a totally different ‘strength’ and depth of sound and power than a true metal band would. Irdoraths clever use of violin and cello arrangements throughout the CD even enhances that.

Like I said, the opening song Varazheya feels like a musical uppercut. The band sounds like a pack of wolves somewhere deep in a dark and ancient forest and not about to take prisoners. As Nadezhda sings in the end: ‘You wanna howl? Howl!

Zhahi-Zhazi, although slightly slower in pace, has the same intensity. Again the songtext tells you everything you need to know. Translated, the song is called horrors-horrors, and the first lines go:
Children spend the night in the woods
where the trees roam,
And someone’s eyes are watching them from the shadows.
Children watch the fire and glance into the darkness.
Who hides there?

Do I need to say more? Musically I would call Zhahi-Zhahi a strong mix between the acoustic traditional folk music of the Belarussian ethno-folk band Troitsa and the extreme power of Myrath, but in acoustic form. I would define Irdorath’s music as ethnic-progressive-power-folk-metal-played-acoustically, and Zhahi-Zhahi is the perfect example of what that sounds like. Especially the instrumental part that starts about 1:33 in this song is absolutely amazing. That is also the point the band goes way beyond the limitations of metal music. An absolute stonker of a song.

Black Flags is the last of the power folk songs that open this CD. It is also a song that will be extremely popular with our German pirate friends. A sea shanty on steroids, on mega steroids actually. And then there is that chalumeau, sounding like a church organ to give this ‘pirate’ song its own unique Irdorath twist. You cannot help but be dragged in by this ocean epos. Bring out your dead, hoist the black flag and storm the seven seas! Black flags!

The fifth track Storm is the first instrumental piece on this cd and the catchy melody played by the rauschpfeifen makes it an instant earworm. Starting out as another power folk song the arrangment quickly turns full string orchestra, proving the point that Irdorath plays soooo much more than ‘just’ metal on this cd. It transforms this power folk tune into something truly epic. Stunning stuff.

Kupala na Ivana starts a capella (although shortly) and it gives me the opportunity to go into one of Irdorath’s biggest trump cards. Nadezhda’s epic voice. It is big and it is strong. She has lungs made of steel and these big lungs are the reason she can easily hold her own against the five other bandmembers in this beautiful power ballad.
Five? Yes, Irdorath is now a 6 piece band. Besides long time members Nadezhda on vocals, bagpipe, hurdy-gurdy and rauschpfeifes; Vladimir on bagpipe, slidgeridoo, chalumeau, vocals and throat singing; and Anton Shnip on Drums, percussion and vocals, we also have Valery Priyomko on drums; Pietro Marchenko on guitar, twelve string bouzouki and vocals; and Julia Viten on violin. All equally talented and equally important in the sound of Irdorath. But the main star on Kupala na Ivana is Nadezhda. It doesn’t matter what the band throws at her: Powerful drums, the strength of the bagpipes, even a full orchestra, Nedazhda just blows them away with the power of her voice in this wonderful ballad. This song has it all. Just listen to those beautiful arrangements. Going from subtle to full power folk ballad, from a capella to full orchestra. Together with Storm, Kupala Na Ivana is one of my favourite songs on Wild.

Looking at the lyrics I wouldn’t be surprised Irdorath worked with a clear theme on Wild, and the music, indeed powerful and wild, followed out of that.
I’ll be honest, this will not be everybody’s cup of tea. And it wasn’t meant like that either. This album is a hurricane caught on a compact disc, and it wants to come out!. A musical storm hitting you right in the face! And just as I love to walk in a storm, lean against it and enjoy the beauty of mother nature at her full strength, I love this album too.
For all of you who share my love for powerful music like Ayreon, Prima Nocta, Myrath, Edvard Grieg’s Hall of the Mountain King, Coppelius and, ….well.., Irdorath! Can’t wait for the next storm to come!


Editor: Sara
Picture and videos: Irdorath


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