One of the coolest things for us at CeltCast is that we have seen several new bands grow from small beginnings to big shows at
A good example is the band
who we saw opening as a singer-songwriter act for
and is now a 5-piece band opening this year’s Castlefest with only
above them on the bill. Another one is
an Italian band we had not previously heard of and whose CD Alex Sealgaire obtained and passed on to Castlefest. They became one of the most poular acts in no time.
The last example has to be
whom I saw playing long ago at a
gothic and fantasy fair.
They went on to debut at Castlefest together with
and have become a crowd favourite among the Castlefest audience in the last few years.
We at CeltCast think we found another band that could make that journey. A band that has been growing steadily since their debut album in 2012. A band that makes good energetic Celtic folk, has heaps of talent, know exactly where they wanna go and are charming nice people to top it all off. That promising band is
and they just released their newest album Daylight Is Fading.
UNIQUE SELLING POINTS
Every good band needs a unique selling point. Something that makes them stand out from the crowd.
Ye Banished Privateers
have that ‘it’ with their stageshow and their theatre style, Sunfire have ‘it’ with their western folk sound, The Sidh have their unique mix between dance and folk,
have ‘it’ with their unique verson of acoustic metal. And now Pyrolysis has ‘IT’ too. They found an unique sound and style that makes the difference between a nice album and a -what-the-f[censored]-just-happened!- CD. Well done you lot, well done!!!! For me the surprise of the year.
Pyrolysis started out in 2012 as a folk metal band, but several years, a different line-up and three albums later the sound had developed into acoustic Celtic folk. In 2017 it earned them a nomination for the title best album at the
Dutch Bastaard Awards
for their third release called Edges Of The Day.
But Stan Eimers (vocals, bodhrán, mandolin), Tim Elfring (vocals, bouzouki), Laurens Krah, (accordion), Rikke Linssen (vocals, violin, tin whistle) and new band member Joshua Kuijpers (bass guitar) were not satisfied yet, as Rikke told me. So they took their instruments, their songs, loaded it all up and sailed west to the
for some Fieke fairy dust.
-‘ We wanted a more powerful sound.’ Rikke explains. -‘So we ended up asking Fieke van den Hurk. After listening to several of the albums she had recorded we felt she was the right person to give us the sound we were looking for.’-‘ It’s really something to see her work.’ Laurens adds. -‘ Fieke really builds up a sound, layer upon layer. I have never experienced anything like that.’
The result of this collaboration has been turning its rounds in my CD player ever since it arrived, and will probably do so for many more weeks to come. But before I go into Daylight Is Fading, let’s go back to that nominated album Edges Of The Day.
BACK TO 2017: EDGES OF THE DAY
Released in 2017 Edges Of The Day is a solid Celtic folk CD. One we never reviewed at
CeltCast, but as we think it’s a album well worth listening to we make up for it now.
In general Pyrolysis makes lovely uptempo folk on Edges Of The Day, let’s say a cool mix between the bands musical influences
(a band I had personnally never heard of until Laurens pointed them out, but a cool band) with good lyrics that have meaning, good vocals and a big role for Laurens on accordion and Rikke on violin. Throwing out melody after melody to warm your hearts and move your feet.
One of the really strong points of the band is their vocals. It’s not often that a band has the luxury of three talented singers. Stan is the rock voice of the band. He has the strong lungs and that nice bit of sandpaper that you need for uptempo folk songs like Drenchman and Ladies Of The Lochs, but he also has the sensitivity to shine in a ballad like Thank The Devil.Tim’s voice is a bit higher and slightly sharper, a voice that shines as a sensitive singer-songwriter, loaded with emotion. Listen to Funniest Story and you’ll hear exactly what I mean. But he can also uses that strenght in more powerful songs like Novio Magus or the theatrical Captain Cray.
Rikke is the third lead vocalist in the band. Just as Tim she has a more fragile voice that works wonders for putting emotions across, on I Am Crow she sounds a wee bit like
and when she goes into the high notes with her soprano, it really gets an unearthly quality. I’ve really fallen in love with that song during the writing of this review. This song suits her vocal capability so well and it gives the band some extra musical possibilities.
So the variety in vocals is one strong point of the band. The other is their musicality. They are all talented musicians. The band knows how to write a good song and they have two gifted soloists which I feature and praise a lot during this review. But, as with everything, you need a good foundation before the soloists can shine. Well Stan and Tim (who played bass on the Edges Of The Day) lay a more than solid foundation. The cool thing is that, unlike most folk rock or folk punk bands, who come from a rock background and then add some folk elements to their sound, Pyrolysis take traditional folk, play it with traditional folk instruments and than add punk rock power to it. Giving them a unique rhythm and a totally different ‘drum’ sound. As I said earlier, a unique selling point!
In retrospect – after listening to Daylight Is Fading two weeks in a row- it is clear that some songs could have benefitted from a bit more power in the sound, a bit more ‘oomph’ so to say.. ….Enter Fieke van den Hurk (and enter Sander van der Heide who mastered the new CD.)
THE NEW ALBUM
So this is the point where I normally go deep into the music of the new CD with comparisons, examples etc. etc. etc., but not his time, at the band’s request. Rikke explains: -‘ We would love it if the listeners were able to form their own opinion free from the influences of a review.’
Of course I will honour that request. And in a way it’s even cooler. You listeners will all get the same surprise I had when I listened to Daylight Is Fading the first time. So instead of an in-depth review here are some of my highlights of Daylight Is Fading, in no particular order.
First off is The Pilgrim, a lovely ballad, full of emotion, something that, as I said earlier, plays to Stan’s strengths. He has that ‘sandpaper ‘voice that works so well when he wants to bring strong emotions across and there are some pretty strong emotions packed in those few lines of lyrics.I should also mention Rikke’s violin playing here, Not only does she complement Stan’s voice and Laurens’ accordion, but she also plays a lovely duet with a famous guest musician, [spoiler alert] of the well known band [spoiler alert]. A very special guest musician indeed. That collaboration promises something for future Castlefest performances.
Captain Cray is my next favourite, if only for the intro. If the end of that intro doesn’t wake you, I don’t know what will. But there is more to Captain Cray, much more. Tim, shines here as lead vocalist. He has to use all his theatrical singing skills to pull this one of. True Pyrolysis fans will of course recognise this song as a re-recording from the Edges Of The Day album. The basic arrangements of the song stayed the same, it’s just differently recorded this time, adding all the theatrics it deserved from the moment the band wrote it. Captain Cray, in this version, is definitely a favourite among my favourites.
Donald McCillavry, a cover from Silly Wizard, is a folk song with a good splash of dark whiskey over it. It’s built around an accordion riff that is catchy as hell. If this isn’t an instant crowd-pleaser I’ll eat up my kilt. Good vocals too, both the lead melody and the choir doing the chorus. This could be a potential single. Maybe it will be, who knows, but not the first one, that I know for sure.
Why? Well the band has told me what the first single will be and I’m sooo happy they chose this particular one. I do not want to spoil it, but trust me, it’s a good choice. Strong lyrics, really poetic but packed in a catchy melody line, good vocals from Tim again, strong choir in the end, but it’s the Irish reel they worked into it that makes the song for me. During the whole album Laurens throws out one highly addictive accordion melody after another, but this is the coolest of them all! It’s my old time favourite reel and Pyrolysis have it in their first single. I’m soooo glad my Discman has a repeat function.
There is yet another potential single on this album, The Pace! It is another powerful, up tempo, catchy folk song with good vocals from Stan and Laurens excelling on accordion again (yes I know it almost gets boring, but he just rocks that accordion as if he was Fieke’s kid brother). But also listen to that rhythm session in the beginning! I promise you another huge party when Pyrolysis play this intro live, the roof will come off, I’m sure of it. That intro, the violin solos, the vocals, the lyrics, the break in between, really everything fits within this song. Just take a minute to really listen to the lyrics and you’ll hear a deeper layer woven into this catchy song. I just love this. My absolute favourite amongst the favourites. Best song on the CD I think.
And there is still more to come. There is Cooley’s Reel. Again a catchy powerful folk song. Instrumental this time with Laurens playing his accordion as if it was on fire. Who needs an electric guitar solo if you have Laurens on accordion. But the best bit is the quirky a cappella choir the band throws out at 2/3th of the sing. Brilliant stuff. Well done!
Witch Hunt has a cool dynamic intro sliding effortlessly into this, mostly, instrumental song. The combination of the bands writing skills and Fieke’s sound engineering skills works wonders here. There isn’t much singing in Witch Hunt but when they do Pyrolysis feature their vocalists once more. A strong choir! And I also love those harmonies and the Celtic percussion under it.
The last song I want to pick up on is Rainy Road. Still without giving anything away, Rainy Road really brings out the best in Rikke’s vocals. The combination of her voice and Tim’s bouzouki alone is enough to get goose bumps, but when the song builds up strong towards the end, it is really a stunner of a ballad. A worthy end to this very good album.
Pyrolysis can be really proud of Daylight is Fading. If you hear the huge steps the band is taking, from In Mountains High I Stand to Edges Of The Day, and again from that album to the present one, Daylight Is Fading, it is really impressive. If they keep growing like this I’m sure that, in a few years time Pyrolysis will be at the top of the Dutch folk scene.
In the meantime,
Ye Banished Privateers, I give you your supporting act for this coming season. And you better bring your A game, ’cause if this CD is anything to go by, Pyrolysis are gonna tear the stage down!!
– Editor: Diane Deroubaix
– Sleeve art picture:Kev L. Smith
– Sleeve art design: Rikke Linssen
– Pictures: Marielle Groot Obbink