Celtachor – Fiannaiocht

Rating: 4.5/5
Distributor/label: Trollzorn
Released: 20.4.2018
Buy Album: Celtachor Bandcamp
Band Website: Celtachor

Band Line up

Stephen Roche – Vocals, Whistles
David Quinn – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Fionn Stafford – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Liam Henry – Violin, Harp
Robert Macdomhnail – Bass, Bouzouki, Harp
Anaïs Chareyre – Drums, Bodhran, Backing Vocals

Track listing

1. Sons Of Morna (7:12)
2. King Of Tara (4:34)
3. Tuiren (9:20)
4. The Search For Sadbh (5:31)
5. Caoilte (6:03)
6. Great Ships Came From Over The Waves (3:44)
7. The Battle On The Shore (6:34)
8. Tears Of Aoife (1:44)
9. Cauldron Of Plenty (5:02)
10. Dubh, Dun Agus Liath (7:21)



Ireland has always had a strong musical history with traditional instruments still playing a big part in the Irish music culture today. The Irish Celtic sound is very distinct: drinking songs, ballads or songs of lament are heard frequently with string instruments or whistles providing poetic melody lines. Blackened folk project Celtachor was established in Ireland in 2007. So far, they’ve released four albums, each evolving and standing in their own right, though this album has a somewhat folkier approach than previous. The recent addition of violinist Liam Henry perfectly complements the Celtic whistle, harp and bouzouki and seems to have helped evolve the sound on this album into the polished atmospheric gem it is. Their recent offering ‘Fiannaiocht’ is a winding tale of a concept album dwelling on the youthful struggles of Finn of the Fianna (or Finn McCool as you’re more likely to have heard him referred to). In Celtic mythology the ‘Fianna’ were a group of fearsome Irish warriors with some truly unusual entry requirements and none that any mere mortal could accomplish, with Finn as their leader.

‘Fiannaiocht’ flows through atmospheric calming soundscapes to fast blast-beat laden tracks, reminiscing of battles past, lost loves and stories of Celtic heroes. The varying instrumentation and vocal styles are key to this album and really well implemented, adding depth and interest to the album, which is something occasionally lacking in blackened folk. Their sound nestles somewhere between the Celtic metal bands such as Primordial, Waylander or Cruachan but with a heavier edge.

‘Sons of Morna’ is a soaring start to the album, effortlessly setting the atmosphere of the album with its lulling openings that quickly diverge into a powerful weaving beast of a track. There seems to be a theme with lulling the listener into assuming a folk track and then assaulting them with savage groovy riffs, intense drumming and diverse vocal styles; this all forms interest and textures in building the storylines which are key. That is my only slight issue with the album, that perhaps it’s a little predictable in places? Having said that, there are pure folk tracks such as ‘The Search for Sadbh’, ‘Great Ships Came From Over The Waves’ and ‘Tears of Aoife’ which add elevation and charm which are just stunning to listen to and showcase the traditional instrumentation perfectly. I love a good haunting melody line and ‘The Battle on the Shore’ has been imprinted on me since my first listen to the album and is one that I will absolutely be returning to in the future. Excellent production and composition, diverse layering with vocal styles and instruments, creative comparisons between traditional instruments all combine to make a musical story worthy of anyone’s time. A gem that will no doubt be on my rotation for years to come.

Review by:

Rebekah Ann