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Considering that these guys come from Brazil, it would be really hard to expect such amazing folk metal album from some guys that have no background to the Celtic culture whatsoever. Thus, this is by all means a great album and a pleasant folk experience to listen to.
Throw away Mago de Oz which is a pure assholes band that have no interest in promoting the Celtic culture but just make money out of playing folky metal for the masses. Not that it is bad but when the pure heart of the culture gets lost in the mayhem them the music becomes empty, not matter how good the musicians can be.
The album opens with some tribal drumming and flutes to evoke the feeling of being partying in the forest with trolls and dwarfs. It is a fantastic way to open. The guitar riff in the opener ‘The Dance of the Little Ones’ is cool enough to maintain interest in the metal-folk music blend. The vocals although not that good, especially the background vocals, they fit the music. This song has some grunts interluded which are not that out of place. They also have plenty of guitar solos to give more melodic sound.
I will not describe each song since the other guy already did it so I am going to focus on two different aspects but there are a lot of things going on with this album which makes it really interesting, such as: there are many guitar solos, there are fun songs, ‘epic’ songs, battle songs, acoustic interludes, lots of guitar hooks, violins, flutes, keyboards well performed, cool riffs and a lot of surprises during the length of the album, etc.
Particularly for me when listening to folk metal I seek, well, that… folk metal. Since the genre is becoming overcrowded with a lot of shitty bands, finding remarkable records can be a difficult task, and to shake things a little, they can be found in the most remote parts of the world (Brazil in this case). I find Korpiklanni amazing and there are some other bands out there like Folkearth, Asmegin, etc. While I do not enjoy black metal with folk glimpses here and there and folk metal can become overshadow by this concept, Tuatha de Danann is a remarkable band that play for the sake of fun and to create a nice, enjoyable and accessible sound which very interest elements like the inclusion of that many guitar solos and folky instruments.
The production is a bit under the barrel since the mix tends to minimize the impact of the instruments and the guitars have some fuzz sound that does not allow them to really give the punch that’d do this a lot for improving. The back ground vocals are really flat and these guys don’t really know how to do it but other than that the sound maintains your interest as well as all the other aspects of the album, naming yet simple but effective song writing, cool melodies, powerful metal, very well performed and influenced folk vibe and most important, and enjoyable and fun album without black metal included.
Tuatha De Danann is easily on par with, if not better than, such folk metal greats as Korpiklaani and Vintersorg. The Celtic influence here is very prevalent, possibly even more so than the metal, but this is not a bad thing. It ends up creating some of the most original metal of the time, and there are still plenty purely metal moments. The vocals are primarily clean, but there are also some harsh vocals throughout that seem to come out of no where, but rule when they do (And I'm usually not much of a fan of harsh vocals). Acoustic guitars, flutes, and a little bit of fiddle comprise the folk element here, and the guitarists are far more proficient than one would expect from such an obscure band. FAR more, they really are masters of their instrument. There's also some good and interesting percussion.
Onto the songs:
The Dance of the Little Ones - This is a fantastic opener. It's got a nice acoustic intro with flutes taking the lead, and gets a bit heavier, alternately using clean and harsh vocals with odd, but very enjoyable, guitar solos flying around behind the vocals to keep things interesting. (9/10)
Battle Song - This song is pretty much totally metal with catchy melodic vocals and lots of worthy guitar solos sprinkled throughout. And when I say catchy melodic vocals I don't mean faggy shit like Sonata Arctica, but more like something between Iron Maiden and Blind Guardian. (8.5/10)
Behold The Horned King - This is as close to epic as the album is gonna get (which is... somewhat epic), and is very melodic. It has lots of powerful layered vocals followed by just the drummer, singer, and a flute going, and it works well. Like most of their songs, some great lead guitar work is almost constantly going on and keeps things from ever being boring. (9/10)
Tan Pinga Ra Tan - This song could only be described as mystical. It does the best job of putting their lyrics to music, which is basically going off into the forest and having a party with happy gnomes and dwarves and whatnot. Some more fantastic lead guitar is included, and there is actually a small, but great, very heavy moment with harsh vocals that perfectly complements the lighter sections. This is one of my favorite songs. (10/10)
Finganfor - A fun, silly, song that is overall quite enjoyable. The first couple minutes mid-paced with more, good, melodic vocals, and then it picks up speed with a fiddle solo and some more singing.(8/10)
Vercinetorix - This is probably the heaviest song on the album. It has an engaging intro, but then fades into mediocrity for a couple minutes before changing at about 1:40 with some nice, dark, soft acoustics with nice, dark, melodic singing and then reemerges very heavy with harsh vocals followed by assorted solos and doesn't fade again for the rest of the song. This is the only song I've noticed double bass on. (8.5/10)
Celtia - This is an instrumental comprised almost entirely of absolutely amazing celtic acoustic guitar, with some backing percussion (bongos I think?). (9/10)
Some Tunes to Fly - A just plain great combination of Celtic folk and metal. It, like Tan Pinga Ra Tan, has it's mystical moments, and some heavy (almost thrashy) moments with more harsh vocals. It's amazing how many different, and great, melodies this band can come up with. (9/10)
Tingaralatatinga Dum/The Dwarves Rebellion - This is even funner and sillier than Finganfor. It's a conversation between some guy and various mythical creatures about their reality. I recommend getting drunk for this one. (8.5/10)
Macdara - Another clean instrumental that easily keeps your interest, but I don't like it as an ending. (8/10)
I'm sure you hear people all the time saying how great this random obscure band they like is, and then you end up listening to the band only to find out it's mediocre or worse and sounds like everything else. This is NOT that. If you have any interest in folk metal than get this, it really is some of the best.