Cruachan The Morrigan's Call

There are two main ways folk metal can go desperately wrong: latching onto an easy gimmick and pounding it into zombification or ramming the two disparate styles together until the songs are more schizophrenic than Frankenstein’s monster. Cruachan’s latest, The Morrigan’s Call, is more Frankenstein than zombie. The record starts out convincing (and metal) enough with thick distortion and harsh growls but then collapses into jigs, reels, Irish drinking songs and a severe case of identity crisis. The pagan references and traditional instruments have their appeal but nothing compelling lasts more than a few seconds or repetitions. Female vocals that verge on yelling at least half the time don’t add much to the mix either. The Morrigan’s Call starts to sound better towards the end but it’s hard to tell if that’s from improved songwriting, relief or desensitisation. (Candlelight)