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Celtachor's name kind of says it all: Celtic mythos and heritage are central contents of their metal. This, the band's sophomore demo, tells the tale of Lugh, a hero and High King of the distant past, who waged for over his evil grand father's kingdom.
Instrumental introduction 'Nemed's Wake' is filled with Celtic atmosphere, and is good at that, but does totally differ from other material on offer. However, some whistles are heard here and there around the demo, even though not during every song. Riffs sound Irish for a big part. This is about simplistic heavy metal riffs and some black metal tinged ones, and no guitar solos. If there's a band that comes to my mind while listening to Celtachor, then it must be Waylander.
Unvarying but suitably raspy throat vocals are everything on the vocals department. The drumming is simplistic. However, there are some annoying sloppiness, especially during faster parts of the music (e.g. 'Riders of the Fomor' speedy bit). Generally, the performance of the band packs some energy. The production isn't bad, but suitably raw. I should also mention, that the booklet with lyrics is a nice effort.
All in all, ' In the Halls of Our Ancient Fathers' is quite enjoyable listening, and hangs somewhere just above average. The main problem with it is its similarity and that it isn't very captivating, memorable. If you want some metal music with Irish ambiance, then Celtachor's effort might well be worth the risk and toiling, but no otherwise.
Ever since turn of the millennium, the creation and recording means of first-run demos has seen a nice boot in the ass in terms of betterment. Don’t get me wrong; lo-fi monstrosities, both in terms of its production and performance, still exist in the primordial soup of ambition and waywardness, but for better or worse, the very first recording you’ll get from a band, both local and abroad, is easier to take in than they were back when tape trading was the lifeblood for the un-and-undersigned. Such is the way of the future, and if I may say so, it’s a future I wouldn’t mind being a part of.
With that said, let’s see how THIS here demo came to be…
Firstly, let’s take a look at the actual product itself on an aesthetic level…in terms of a demo-quality work, the production ain’t too bad. The instrumentation is pretty tight with no real errors to speak of off-hand. On an audio level, the whole central feel is a decent monaural, but not pushing every instrument into a layers-thick wall of sound that wears down your patience and will power. As such, each instrument is heard well enough to know that they’re there doing their thing, but at a bit of a price…the sound of it all is decidedly gritty and muffled in some areas, especially the drums, and leaves a bit to be desired, even for those of us who aren’t asking too much from our first-comers. That’s nothing to really dwell on, though, as everyone starts somewhere.
On the musical end, things are at a decent level in terms of the compositional and performance aspects. Despite the Celtic-esque artwork and lyrical themes, the overall musical output is more in the mid-paced black metal variety, the kind that eschews blast beats and dissonant discordance for galloping rhythms and harmonic chords. More ear-pleasing than soul freezing, if you will. And that’s not totally a bad thing as the actual writing and performance is well done despite the limitations of said genre, the way the guitars and bass crush the throngs of raspy screams and thumping drum work under their bulky weights, only to be outdone, if just a tad, but the fleeting flute lines that make sure all that’s murky and dark is at least, for that few amount of seconds, clad in a soft sunlight ensuring that the product in the end isn’t too ugly for more mainstream consumption. The thing is, there can only be room to grow for them at this point, and this listener hopes it would come to pass, as though all seems pretty nice and decent, it’s hard to make this genre evolve at first glance. That’s really nothing to hold against the group, however; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, and on tracks like “In the Halls of Nuada”, “A Warning to Balor” and “The Wavesweeper”, it’s nice enough to take notice, and a few notes along the way.
In the end, “In the Halls of Our Ancient Fathers” has some solid moments within a rather embryonic status. As I’d said about other bands, both just-starting-out and just-getting-their-chops-tightened, they may have the capacity to move on from their humble roots should they choose to, but only if they’d want to. And if/when they do, I’d like to see…er, hear…it for myself. Still, for a demo, this ain’t half bad. Worth checking out.
Originally written for The Offering