|Title:||Nine Years Of Blood|
|Translation:||Crypt Of Fear|
Primordial, Geasa and Cruachan. These are the bands who made Ireland extreme metal scene interesting for the world; and perhaps the only ones. Of the three, only Primordial really made it: Geasa died almost fifteen years ago, while Cruachan are busy in trying to make something in line with their standard. A particularly long and resistant line, since "Nine Years Of Blood" not only concludes a blood-trilogy started seven years ago, but it is also the eighth album in more or less twenty-five years of Keith Fay's band activitiy, in spite of the innumerable changes in formation that took place throughout this period.
In this new series of raids, Fay and his music tell us about the Nine Years' War, and they do it with their usual tone halfway between the war chants and the bold country fair. Right, the Dubliners were among the very first ever to give birth to what would later later become known as folk metal. Equally true, the band have always been a step backwards from their spurious sons of the north, if we talk about those messy Finntroll or the most combative Månegarm. There is no real reason, but Cruachan's problem has always been wanting to put too much meat on fire, thus failing to give a precise impression of their work. Now a little more black (especially at the beginning of their career), now a little more power, now folk and folk only, but soon you find yourself in the midst of a heavy riff with a declamatory vocals, while a blast beat starts between head and neck and without any notice.
Over the years, Cruachan have profoundly improved their executive ability, as they have managed to give a better shape to their sounds, in particular with "Blood On The Black Robe" (the first chapter of the trilogy), but still have not managed to summarize their own music without getting lost at least a couple of times in each album. One of the best pieces of "Nine Years Of Blood" is "The Harp, The Lion, The Dragon And The Sword" (I do not know what the precise references are, but my spider senses tells me to focus on the heraldic of the nobles involved in the conflict): a title with a lot of things inside, maybe too many. Exactly like the album to which it belongs. Variety is fine, but becomes a problem when it comes to the detriment of consistency.
Cruachan continue to do their job, to entertain and involve at certain times and leave others lukewarm, but what they don't understand is what they want to precisely do with their music. Be funny? Dramatic? Combative? "Nine Years Of Blood" has the limit of being a bit of everything and at the same time none of this.