A Modern Classic - 95%
Waylander is really what folk metal is all about, and this album shows the culmination of 7 years of hard work. There is nothing I can really see overall at a fault. This album is best enjoyed listening cover to cover, as each individual song is truly amazing (except for Taker of Heads), and really flows together as a cohesive album.
The instrumentals are truly remarkable from the bass driven As the Deities Clash and To Dine in the Otherworld to the whistle powered anthem Re-born to the Fight and Bru na Boinne. The songs are evenly spaced out by middle sections of a rising storm, as in Elemental Chaos. The vocals are clear and really complete the atmosphere of the whole song, and the lyrics that accompany them are terrific.
The album also incorporates, with seaming less precision, the folk aspect. Every song is filled with a void that is filled by the flute or some other instrument that are just as much integral to the song as the guitars and drums. This to me is what sets Waylander apart from other folk metal bands, such as Forefather (who is awesome in a different style). I also enjoyed the instruments that they brought into certain songs. The bagpipes really pull together Beyond the Ninth Wave and the tribal drums perfect the intro to Walk With Honour.
This album really surprised me, as I picked it up by chance as a gift. I had listened to a few of the songs prior to receiving it, and was not particularly excited by it, but I was proved wonderfully wrong. As I said before, the album is the best when listened cover to cover, but this can be skewed by the long running time, which is something else I really enjoyed. Every song had length, so it did not feel rushed and was focused more on the story telling of the lyrics.
Bottom line, if you have ever considered listening to folk metal or even black metal, this should be at the top of your list. This album was the first time I ever listened to folk metal, and it is easily one of my all time favorite albums. It epitomizes ever good aspect of the genre.
- HeWhoIsInTheWater, October 4th, 2010
History, tragedy and pride - 85%
"I think bands like Waylander (and Cruachan as well) deserve a lot more attention than all those happy little boozer and ahooooy hohoho mateey bands we are so familiar with these days. They present the totally wrong side of the genre to the bigger public which is just a shame. Folk metal is not about fucking booze parties with cute friendly rape-me trolls but about history, tragedy and pride."
I wrote this on the Waylander forum some time ago, and this paragraph exactly points out what Waylander's music is all about. One of the things that immediately come to mind when you listen to this CD the first time is the richness of the music. There's really a LOT of melody going on in this songs, and these are not two-riff-and-one-folk-melody based songs but truly entities, one by one.
This is definitely Waylander's most mature release, and maybe even Folk Metal's most mature release. The lyrics deal with history, heathen pride and Celtic mythology and are really worth noticing. They are well written and express a strong feeling towards Ireland's past and present. Do I need to say they fit the music?
The riffs here are more fast-paced than the ones played by most folk metal bands and they often share their melodic role with great folky leads played by either guitars or fiddles, tin whistles (not used as much as on their debut album) and other folk instruments. But the role of the folk melodies here is much more than the one 75% of the folk metal related bands stick to: they don't even seem to be too catchy at first listen and really expand the music.
The highlights of this release are the übermelodic As the Deities Clash because of the great load of riffs, leads and good lyrics, Beyond the Ninth Wave for the epic storytelling and Bru Na Boinne: and enchanting and uplifting yet serious song.
Waylander again show that they are fully dedicated to playing real folk metal, the honest way. If you want to learn what real folk metal is, get this one. Waylander will definitely teach you.
- Aljosha, May 1st, 2009
fantastic celtic black metal - 90%
This is possibly the best celtic black metal album since Heol Telwen's An Deiz Ruz. As is necessary, there are speedy celtic melodies you could jig to if you really wanted, but Waylander aren't afraid to slow it down a bit and create some atmosphere. The acoustic passages are particularly folkishly delicous. With the infamous tin whistle playing proudly throughout the album, there's no doubting the celticality of Honour Among Chaos, but the tin whistle isn't used just because it's celtic metal so it has to be used, it's used sparingly when it's called for. The guitars rip along in style, going from tremolo picked sections into folky melodies. When the tin whistle and the mandolin come in together during some full speed riffage, it's folk metal bliss. The vocal style is a very well done and clear black metal growl. The vocals manage to have quite a bit of bite while remaining quite intelligible.
One problem, though, is that the drums are too high in the mix, and they aren't very exciting so it's not as if they deserve to be up there. The drums are played great, the sustained high speed double bass work is great, and the sections that call for tom tom tom tom work are great. Rah rah, it's all great. While I may have called this celtic black metal, I'm not trying to put it in the same category as, say, Belenos. The music is very much melodic, and most of the guitar work can't be called anything close to black metal. To Dine in the Otherworld stands out as a highlight of the album for me, with two separate two minute acoustic parts, and having some of the best guitar parts on the album. If you're a fan of celtic music, metal music, and breathing air, get this! You should already be a fan of at least one of those things, if you're not, well I don't think you'll enjoy this very much, but for everyone else, you should enjoy this, if you don't then... well you just suck, sorry.
originally written for http://heavymetalsociety.org
- Ramseus, January 2nd, 2009
Honour Among Excellence - 95%
In the present climax of folk metal frenzy contamination, it is criminal that Waylander from Ireland go past unspoken, especially as the band has been alive since 1993. Fast-forward to 2008, a couple albums later and the band are about to release their most mature offering yet.
‘Honour Among Chaos’ is not joyous folk metal like Korpiklaani. The maturity of this release is prevalent throughout. The lengthy duration of each track allow the band to experiment with several ideas and inject traditional Irish folk music along side atmospheric black metal passages. ‘Usurpers Of Our Legacy’ is a crushing piece of music with effective tempo changes and thrash metal influenced guitar riffs.
‘Galloping Gaels’ is a catchy song enveloped in adventure but seething with raw nature. The preceding track ‘Beyond The Ninth Wave’ has a traditional Celtic folk introduction before evolving to a unique black metal number. One of the strongest tracks on this release is ‘Elemental Chaos’, saturated in convincing atmosphere by making use of electric and acoustic guitars, growls and clean vocals, and bludgeoning riffs all before culminating in an acoustic passage with rain and thunder samples.
This is a beautifully chaotic folk/black metal album that is difficult to stop listening to. Filled with visceral atmospheres and non-clichéd folk segments, Waylander will definitely be turning heads with ‘Honour Among Chaos’ and are certainly trialling new ideas with their folk metal rather than letting them stagnate and praying an overused gimmick will generate attention. For fans of Primordial, Skyforger and possibly Belenos.
Originally written for www.soundshock.net.
- Daru_Jericho, September 29th, 2008
Waylander - Honour amongst chaos - 80%
If ever proof was needed that getting signed up and knocking out a couple of CDs doesn't necessarily mean that a band has made it, it comes in the form of Northern Ireland's folk metal pioneers Waylander. Now in their 15th year together, 'Honour amongst chaos' is only their 3rd CD, and comes a full 7 years after the preceding 'The light, the dark and the endless knot'. The band members must find themselves wondering where the time has gone, and it is a real shame that incessant label and line-up problems have held back the progress of what was a very promising outfit. But to cast aside all that doom and gloom, the good news is that the massive delay between CDs has not blunted Waylander's abilities, and 'Honour amongst chaos' is a damned fine example of epic Celtic metal.
Clearly from the blacker end of the folk metal spectrum, this is not music for those of a lighter disposition, or indeed of a short attention span. Frontman Ciaran O'Hagan spends most of his time howling baleful black metal shrieks, but on the odd occasion things will soften up and he adopts a resonant, sombre tone that is usually accompanied by increased traditional Irish instrumentation, mostly provided by the band's multi-tasker, Dave Briggs. One of the newer members of the Waylander line-up (usually to be seen fronting neighbour band Runecaster), he brings a great deal of depth to the songs without ever sounding over the top or comical, mostly making use of the tin whistle and bodhran to accent the Celtic aspect of the band's sound. The final song on the track list, "Bru na boinne", sees the greatest use of these instruments. O'Hagan uses only clean vocals on this track as he repeats a hypnotic chant over hurtling guitars and violins, and the CD closes on a windswept, atmospheric note.
The metal end of the songs varies between more black metal influences in blasting drums and dissonant tremolo picking in the more aggressive songs, while a couple of the more direct numbers such as "Galloping gaels" run on more straight-ahead thrash riffs. The complexity of the lengthy songs is greatly helped by the abilities of guitarist Saul McMichael (with some assitance from former member Gareth Murdock), whose weaving guitar lines and melodic solos in turns contrast and harmonize with the traditional instruments to impressive effect.
With a comparatively slender total of 9 songs running well past the hour mark, more than half of them are over 7 minutes long, with one even breaching the 10-minute mark and meandering around between several heavier and more wistful passages. A few of these longer efforts don't feature any sort of sing-a-long chorus that would be expected in more common equivalents of this sort of music, and require a bit of patience to be fully absorbed and appreciated.
With a comeback this successful, Waylander can hopefully now start making up for lost time and really begin to progress they way they should have done several years ago. 'Honour amongst chaos' is not only a great CD in its own right, but a real triumph for a band many will have written off as dead and buried. Let's just hope we see a 4th CD before 2015, because they have so much more to offer.
(Originally written for http://www.metalcdratings.com/)
- Radagast, September 25th, 2008
Solid folk metal without the gimmicks. - 80%
Northern Ireland’s Waylander have faced some trouble in their time. It has been seven years since their last album ‘The Light, The Dark and the Endless Knot’, and only two of the band’s six members even appeared on that album. However, they have persevered and returned with a bombastic delivery of just over an hour of folk metal. However, these days folk metal is dominated by saccharine tunes and gimmicks; the days of Skyclad worship are now long gone. Seven years ago ‘folk metal’ was quite a different proposition, when current torch-holders Finntroll and Turisas were in their early days. The rapidly swelling popularity of these bands in 2008 threatens to make Waylander’s less accessible approach seem backwards and dated.
Fortunately, the sheer strength of ‘Honour Amongst Chaos’ renders the state of folk metal utterly irrelevant. This is a real metal album, not simply a pop album with accordions and distorted guitars. It’s heavy and relentless in its battery, while still providing a sufficient melodic outlet for their Celtic grandeur. Blastbeats and tin whistles co-exist side by side here, and as whacky as that may sound there are no gimmicks, simply the natural sound that this band carves. The traditional heavy metal foundation that the band has worked off of since the beginning is expanded upon yet again with a speed and atmosphere not too far removed from early melodic death metal. Indeed, one of the most impressive metal aspects of the band is the drumming of Den Ferran who singlehandedly can determine the dynamics of songs with his seamless shifts between furious double bass and reserved time-keeping on the back-burner. The combination of big tremolo picked guitar lines; masterful drumming and the congenial folk instrumentation used by Dave Briggs put together what is one of the better ‘dark’ folk metal albums since we last heard from Falkenbach.
Waylander’s lyrics deal with Celtic mythology and folklore. Big surprise, I know, but these aren’t the sort of lyrics that will inspire internet kiddies to only increase their usage of the words ‘epic’ and ‘Viking’. Sure, they still deal with similar stories however vocalist and founding members Ciaran O'Hagan delivers the words with intellect and a knowledge that goes beyond the superficial mythological trap that so many folk metal bands fall into. A specific interest in the subject matter is almost definitely required to enjoy the lyrics fully; however the storytelling is executed deftly. It’s not just the words, either. Cairn O’Hagan is quite the vocalist, opting not for cliché chanting, but instead for a harsh and aggressive vocal style bordering on black metal. Still, some clean vocals are implemented throughout ‘Honour Amongst Chaos’ and are used to great effect, adding another dimension to some of the album’s tranquil moments.
Even those who would take ‘Trollhammaren’ over ‘One Rode To Asa Bay’ should find something wholly identifiable in ‘Honour Amongst Chaos’, an equal balance between Celtic folk and metal, both of which are rooted in a ‘substance over style’ ethic. Indeed, a reluctance to enjoy folk metal based on the cheesy modern form could be proven ill-founded by Waylander this year. From the shape shifting anthem ‘Elemental Chaos’ to the stunning 10 minute centrepiece ‘To Dine In The Otherworld’, Waylander’s return is, for a lack of a less trendy word, epic.
- duncang, July 10th, 2008
This IS folk metal - 95%
Steel string guitars ring out like a bed of solid earth beneath which a flute rises like a malevolent yet benevolent spirit. The interlay continues and rises to a crescendo before breaking down into an epic pagan hymn of thrashing guitars accompanied by mandolins, drums and bodhráns of war and vicious black metal vocals before drifting carelessly back into an atmospheric bass interlude with Ard Chieftain O’Hagan’s voice ringing over the top like a god reawakened…the closing track to the new Waylander album, “Brú Na Bóinne.” It’s hard to believe that this is a band who’s first masterpiece received a dismal 1 out of 10 in Metal Hammer UK. Waylander are a band who suffered those slings and arrows so that bands like Turisas and Ensiferum could make it big but with this new opus Waylander are back to reclaim there place at the top of the Pagan/Folk Metal pile.
This is the album that Waylander have been waiting to make for 15 years and the wait has certainly been worth it. Everything that has made Waylander distinctive in the past; the folk interludes with traditional instruments, melody, heavy guitars and intricate bass lines have all been stepped up a notch not only the best release of Waylander’s career to date but also one of this genre’s finest that puts recent releases by Moonsorrow and Korpiklani firmly in the corner. We’re even treated to some guitar harmonies which have been a rarity on previous Waylander output but what really makes this special is how the seamlessly intertwined the Folk and Metal elements are. Waylander have always straddled the border between thinking man’s Pagan Metal and a band that you can get pissed and dance like an eejit to. Of course I’m sure the band don’t want to discourage such tomfoolery but the fact that nothing about this album sounds forced or contrived means that they are now firmly in the realm of the higher echelons of this kind of music along with the likes of Falkenbach and Bathory.
If any criticism can be made it is that the finest track from “Honour Amongst Chaos”, the closing epic “Brú Na Bóinne” utilises too many folk instruments (tin whistle, concert flute, uilleann pipes, bodhrán and mandolin) to feasibly be played live simultaneously by the producer/multi-instrumentalist Dave Briggs. However there is still another 10 tracks here, “Walk With Honour”, “As Deities Clash” and the 10 minute epic “To Dine in the Otherworld” being standout moments that will make great additions to the band’s already stellar live set. It may have taken 7 years for it to materialise but Waylander are back and if this album is anything to go by, this is just a new beginning for them.
Originally printed in Northern Blaze zine issue #1; reproduced here with express permission of the editor.
- Matty_The_Emo_Slayer, July 10th, 2008
Ultimate Guitar - 8/10
Sound: Northern Ireland’s Waylander have faced some trouble in their time. It has been seven years since their last album 'The Light, The Dark and the Endless Knot’, and only two of the band’s six members even appeared on that album. However, they have persevered and returned with a bombastic delivery of just over an hour of folk metal. However, these days folk metal is dominated by saccharine tunes and gimmicks; the days of Skyclad worship are now long gone. Seven years ago 'folk metal’ was quite a different proposition, when current torch-holders Finntroll and Turisas were in their early days. The rapidly swelling popularity of these bands in 2008 threatens to make Waylander’s less accessible approach seem backwards and dated.
Fortunately, the sheer strength of 'Honour Amongst Chaos’ renders the state of folk metal utterly irrelevant. This is a real metal album, not simply a pop album with accordions and distorted guitars. It’s heavy and relentless in its battery, while still providing a sufficient melodic outlet for their Celtic grandeur. Blastbeats and tin whistles co-exist side by side here, and as whacky as that may sound there are no gimmicks, simply the natural sound that this band carves. The traditional heavy metal foundation that the band has worked off of since the beginning is expanded upon yet again with a speed and atmosphere not too far removed from early melodic death metal. Indeed, one of the most impressive metal aspects of the band is the drumming of Den Ferran who singlehandedly can determine the dynamics of songs with his seamless shifts between furious double bass and reserved time-keeping on the back-burner. The combination of big tremolo picked guitar lines; masterful drumming and the congenial folk instrumentation used by Dave Briggs put together what is one of the better 'dark’ folk metal albums since we last heard from Falkenbach. // 7
Lyrics and Singing: Waylander’s lyrics deal with Celtic mythology and folklore. Big surprise, I know, but these aren’t the sort of lyrics that will inspire internet kiddies to only increase their usage of the words 'epic’ and 'Viking’. Sure, they still deal with similar stories however vocalist and founding members Ciaran O'Hagan delivers the words with intellect and a knowledge that goes beyond the superficial mythological trap that so many folk metal bands fall into. A specific interest in the subject matter is almost definitely required to enjoy the lyrics fully; however the storytelling is executed deftly. It’s not just the words, either. Cairn O’Hagan is quite the vocalist, opting not for clichÃ© chanting, but instead for a harsh and aggressive vocal style bordering on black metal. Still, some clean vocals are implemented throughout 'Honour Amongst Chaos’ and are used to great effect, adding another dimension to some of the album’s tranquil moments. // 9
Impression: Even those who would take 'Trollhammaren’ over 'One Rode To Asa Bay’ should find something wholly identifiable in 'Honour Amongst Chaos’, an equal balance between Celtic folk and metal, both of which are rooted in a 'substance over style’ ethic. Indeed, a reluctance to enjoy folk metal based on the cheesy modern form could be proven ill-founded by Waylander this year. From the shape shifting anthem 'Elemental Chaos’ to the stunning 10 minute centrepiece 'To Dine In The Otherworld’, Waylander’s return is, for a lack of a less trendy word, epic.
Sound: Waylander have been at the forefront of Irish Metal and Folk Metal since their debut demo in 1993. Dealing in elements of black metal, the first wave of British heavy metal, and of course their native Irish traditional music Waylander present their Celtic/Pagan themed music in a raw, aggressive and ferocious matter. Factors that have certainly played a key role in the groups position at the forefront of Irish and Folk Metal since their formation and debut in 1993. However to the suffering of the bands consistency and success to date, constant line up changes, badly organised performances, bland recordings and lack of motivation has been a heavy burden. A personal response to the bands previous releases is very negative. Simple arrangements, bad recording quality, and a weak tin whistle player. The lack of motivation I have previously noted has left the listener, wanting more. I would also add, as a well versed listener and participant in Irish trad, a lack of knowledge in the folk side was leaving the band down. However, despite the criticism, the concept and vision expressed by the band had much potential for creating something new and fresh. The front man O Hagan, had a great affection for the act as well as determination to over come all the opposing factors. A fact unquestionable from the lyrics and interviews. Since his childhood, he has been immersed in Gaelic culture and mythology, this passion alongside a vast knowledge of extreme metal was a perfect formula for a quality Folk Metal act. As has been mentioned quite frequently is the modern perception of Folk Metal. A very manufactured and unnatural sound has become very prominent. Certainly, not one with the wishes of the original Celtic Metal movement. The style designed by the likes of Skyclad and Cruachans debut Gaelic black metal album “Tuatha Na Gael” is far from what a modern Metal enthusiast imagines when he hears the term Folk Metal. This trend certainly has not helped Waylander, with their honest and feral sound.
“Honour Amongst Chaos” kicks off with a pumping bass line. Reminiscent to perhaps Iron Maiden?
The first quality I noticed is the sound of the drums, very 'meaty’ well produced tone. Next a lead guitar enters the fray with fast fluid picking. The melody is without any doubt Irish influenced which can be heard in the jig rhythm and gapped scale. The whistles sound excellent unlike the previous albums where it sounded bland and out of tune. All the elements mentioned I have mentioned in the opening paragraphs are apparent already in the first half of the song, and not only that, they have been displayed with great skill. “As Deities Clash” is an unreal opening to the album. The song includes an acoustic interlude which changes the pace completely, until returning to the fast galloping style undoubtedly Folk Metal. I was also impressed with the use of a fiddle, something from what I know Waylander haven’t used before. The fiddles place in the mix is brilliant particularly in comparison to modern Cruachan where it sounds out of place and cringe worthy. The formula used in the opening track is again apparent in “Walk With Honour”, starting with a strong rhythmic pattern on the BodhrÃ¡n and drums. Followed by the a chanting chorus, whistles and from what I can hear a stringed instrument in the main melodies which I can confirm is a mandolin. The classic Heavy Metal style which helped inspire the band at their formation is seen in the traditional METAL solo halfway through the track. There is no manufactured trendy following with the opening tracks. Traditional music merged with Metal. without any compromise.
With the first seconds of “Beyond the Ninth Wave”, we are given a break from the fast beer lifting head banging Gaelic metal. We are introduced to the mournful melody and drones of an Irish Uilleann pipe. This suggests the song will be changing the pace from the previous tracks. The pace does change, however not what the listener expects. The lament is interrupted suddenly with the renowned brutality of the blast beat. A defining rhythmic devise of the Extreme branch of the Metal genre, it destroys any expectation of a slower paced song, quite rapidly! Melodic Death metal influences perhaps can be heard in the following riff with the pounding double kicks and tremolo picking. The song draws to an end with some epic lead work and tin whistle. At the times harmonising the two uniquely. “Galloping Gaels” as the name suggests is fast mosh material complimented with even more fast lead work. Murdock and McMicheal must be complimented on the superb work they produced with fast solo guitar pieces, and Celtic influenced riffs. This played a central role to the success of this record, one the listener will nearly agree up to this point, is Waylanders greatest album to date, and a modern masterpiece that has enough innovation and style to redefine the bastard folk metal of today.
“To Dine In The Otherworld” opens with a bass, again building up the intensity using bodhrÃ¡n, whistle, and acoustic guitar. The band made a good effort to create an epic atmosphere in the riffage and structure, something I regret to admit they failed to do to the best of their ability. A difficult task, perfected by the likes of Bathory, Primordial and Moonsorrow. The listener loses interest before the second acoustic interlude and this I feel is one of the weaker tracks. Thrash is a recurring sound that the band makes use of, this and the black metal influences are utilised with great success in particullary in the following two tracks.
“Usurpers of our Legacy” a ferocious track, where O Hagan screams in anger for retribution against those that killed his culture. This alongside the call to arms apparent in the lyrics is most certainly expressed through the crushing riffs. Ferran plays an instrumental role in the heavier songs, flawless blasting followed by BodhrÃ¡n imitation on the Toms. He shines in the less folky tracks, notably the following one “Taker of Heads”. I was delighted to hear an effective use of twin guitar harmonies, again highlighting the early Heavy Metal background the band have emphasized throughout their career date. This is certainly a track that the band use to present their straight up Metal ability. Endless thrash riffs, blast beats and guitar harmonies. Savagery!
The album draws to a close with excellence. A very epic and powerful note to end a savage album. “Elemental Chaos” showcases some of my favourite riffs from the whole album. One band I must draw a comparison to is in fact the Swedish so called “Viking” Death Metallers Amon Amarth. The riffs and vocals are very alike! It continues into another acoustic interlude similar to “To Dine In The Otherworld”, but this time the atmoshpere is brought to it's existence with much more success. A sad guitar piece backed by a mournful chanting in the distance. It predictably builds itself back up to the same type of riff we’ve heard throughout the album. This highlights my only argument, the repetitiveness that the album suffers. I would argue, they should have cut one track, as the constant utilisation of the signature sound, makes it lose it's impact and effect. The song draws to it's close with the acoustic piece which continues into BrÃº na Boinne, not what I’d typically describe as Celtic it continues until the tin whistle and mandolin join in. A very beautiful and mysterious atmosphere is created. This is followed by the Uilleann pipes and then by the guitars. Very similar to early Cruachan, this track is an ending. One final epic song, filled with O Hagans chants to the gods, the signature fluid licks of McMicheal and Murdock, the crushing patterns of Derran and of course the awesome folk instrumentation of Dave Briggs! // 8
Lyrics and Singing: The bands subject matter deal with Gaelic Mythology, Folklore, Paganism and modern society. Hagan gives his personal commentary on the philosophies of Irelands ancient inhabitants and how modern society as a whole have changed in comparison to the ideologies of ancient times. He makes constant reference to places associated with pagan worship for example “As the Deities Clash”, a song where he proclaims his respect for the old pantheon of gods, and makes reference to the ancient capitals of All Ireland, Connaucht and Ulster. “Tara Cruachan Emain Macha” the place names of the centres of ancient power and worship.
The lyrics seem to deal with the personal philosophies of the writer, he proclaims his respect for nature, the wild, old customs and shows no respect for those that have rejected the beliefs and spiritual strength of those that came before us. As testament to the ancient Gaelic subject matter, he describes the emotions of characters in native Irish mythology and folklore. “Beyond the Ninth Wave” discussed the ordeal of Mac Cuill (translating from Irish as “son of the hazel”) the third son of the god Ogma. He is reborn as a petty thief of Ulster, in an era where his people have fallen from grace. He is eventually caught and is put to sea for his judgement. Hence O Hagans reference of the god of the sea.
“Mannanan Mc Lir my fate lies with thee”. I feel the music is a good representatin of the lyrics. The Uilleann pipe lamenting the exile of Mac Cuill. The riffs and lead guitar playing keening the loneliness of the character and the evident betrayal of Ulster.
“Galloping Gaels” seems to be immersed in the subject of “kicking ass”. Hagan frequently uses macaronic lyrics. In the chorus he uses the Irish word “AbÃº” which means “To Victory”. The fast pounding main riff and the black metal growls of an ancient Gael charging head first to his fate makes a quality track! Despite my criticism of the instrumental of “To Dine In The Otherworld”, I enjoyed the lyrics. The subject matter is the “SÃdhe”, translating directly as “Hill Folk”, but what we refer to in the English speaking world as “Faeries”. In Irish mythology The SÃdhe, are the remnants of gods which have been driven in to the surrounding hills by modern society. According to the lore, there are times when humans get trapped in their abodes. The Otherworld. The music tries with great effort to capture this sense of mystery and an alternate universe. To highlight the emotions of getting trapped with out return. It fails to do this but the lyrics are exceptional as is CiarÃ¡ns eerie vocals during the acoustic interludes.
The lyrics of “Usurpers of Our Legacy” are furious and emotionable. In the song, O Hagan screams and casts bad cess on the invaders of his homeland. The various Kingdoms which invaded throughout history, who raised a foreign flag, and inevitably those that helped destroy the culture he affiliates himself to. The music captures this malevolence fully. It is a song of savagery, in the final verse he calls for the remaining people of his culture to defend their culture. “Rise up Pagan sons! ”. He describes how emperors destroyed small cultures The song ends on a despairing note, he refers to Erin (the spirit of Ireland perhaps? ) as one in grief. “Ã‰iriu she grieves”.
In the following tracks he discusses the philosophies and stories I discussed earlier. These suit the two very traditionally metal tracks fully! The album ends superbly lyrically and musically with BrÃº Na Boinne. This is the Irish name for an area in central Ireland much associated with archaeological sites and deep folkloric tradition. BrÃº refers to a bend in a river, and BÃ³inne is the Irish for the River Boyne. A personal response to this song, is to do with recent controversary regarding destruction of ancient sites in the hair. O Hagan is calling out in fury and confusion of why people in our modern society can't comprehend the significance of such sites. He calls for us to remember who we are, where we came from and as long as we remember the ancient customs and gods, they will always be living entities.
“The Ancient Gods will never Die, whilst we remember their names”.
Vocally O Hagan interchanges from typical Black Metal rasps, notable death metal grunting, and eerie melodic singing during the acoustic pieces. Not reaching the dynamics of the likes of Nemtheanga or Quorthon he does his job, and compliments the music fully! He makes reference to Irish folklore, uses the Irish language and does a notable job as an ideal Folk Metal front man. // 8
Impression: Without any hesitance I proclaim loudly, that not only is this the best album Waylander have ever produced, it is a landmark in Folk Metal. This is Folk Metal with power, balls and pride. They don’t hide behind walls of sound and manufacture, it is raw metal with folk spirit at it's best. The recording quality have helped them a lot, the epic moods, the lyrical material, the folk genius of Briggs, and most of all the honesty of the record. Thrash, Black and Folk are the three terms that come to mind. However, like many acts in the genre, the album loses it's impact about half way through, when the listener gets the idea and can predict what will happen next. The 10 minute epic, was very iffy, and I felt the mood and topic they were aiming to create has already been used by "Hosting of the SÃdhe" by Primordial and "Erin Song" by Cruachan. They did not have the ability to nail an epic song in the manner the innovators of that style have already done.
The album benefits on the early ideas of Cruachan, but take elements from bands all over extreme metal. But I have to mention Dave Briggs, the use of Fiddle, Uilleann Pipes, Whistle, Flute, BodhrÃ¡n and Mandolin worked extremely well. The Folk ability was something the band certainly lacked seven years ago, but have overcome and mastered with Honour Amongst Chaos. I also read they rerecorded Born To The Fight, that will be released in a special edition, that’s a bad ass song and I can't wait to hear what they’ve don’t with it.
This is certainly a serious kick into the teeth to the likes of Eluveitie and certainly all the people that have doubted this group of Northern Gaels. But with the music is an important message that can reach all people. Respect your heritage and be proud of who you are.