Review Summary: An enjoyable fusion of Irish melody and heavy metal.
Ingredients for Irish Waylander black metal pie:
- Black metal inspired vocals
- That excellent Irish melody
- Acoustic interludes
- Pounding drums
- Good production (for black metal)
- A ***load of flutes. Well, the tin-whistle to be more exact.
The ingredients for a good metal album, I’d say. The premises are good, and Reawakening of Pride Once Lost does succeed to a certain extent, but it does have some flaws.
Irish melody has always been an enormous love of mine. My girlfriend has an Irish background, so I get the opportunity to listen to a lot of Irish music from her parents that I otherwise wouldn’t. If you, like me, are a sucker for the traditional Irish sound, then this album would definitely suit you. It’s the one thing that overrules all the flaws that come packaged with the album.
To begin with, we have the song ‘Sunrise’. After listening to it once, I’ve put it in probably my top 5 album introductions of all time. It’s absolutely amazing. A soft acoustic backing which slowly rises in intensity, and supports a haunting melody played on the tin-whistle, and then spoken word vocals come in a little after half way. They replicate this mood several more times in the album, more notably in the acoustic piece ‘Gaelic Dawn’. Spread throughout the songs are again more of the same, but none of them match the strength of ‘Sunrise’. I adore ‘Sunrise’, and after listening to it I was drooling in anticipation for the songs to come. I was in a way let down however, and that leads me to the biggest fault of the album.
A technique that the band employs frequently is playing a cheery sounding tin-whistle at a quick-pace, which is followed by the guitars. It works very well in several songs, such as ‘King of the Faeries’, but there are several moments where I didn’t like the overall tone set by the combination of tin-whistle and guitar. More specifically, the second track ‘Born to the Fight’. It’s entirely likely that this is only because I didn’t much like that song, but I found it to be repetitive and it seemed to drag out a lot longer than its 3 minute length. However, this was an exception, and in general I found the songs aren’t too repetitive. They don’t really follow any sort of standard structure, and Waylander are quite progressive in the way they set out their songs. They sometimes overuse riffs though, like on ‘Born to the Fight’.
On the topic of riffs, the album is full of melodic and catchy riffs. Whether or not they are being accompanied by a tin-whistle, most were interesting and coated with that Irish melody. I’ve seen this band labeled black metal in many places, but the only resemblance to black metal I found was in the vocals. The music does in some places have a little black influence, but I’d hardly call it black metal. Unless you consider Folk metal to be a part of black metal. Anyway, besides the guitars there isn’t anything that stands out, aside from the tin-whistle obviously. The drumming is not too amazing, or varied, but complements the music with strong, pounding beats. Same with the bass, the only thing to say about it is that it complements the melody. There is even the occasional guitar solo, which might seem out of place for a black and folk inspired Irish metal album, but they were sparse and did not take anything away from the music. They even made the song a whole lot better, like in the epic finale, ‘Awakening’.
The vocals, as mentioned before, are very black metal influenced. They have a menacing tone to them, and are similar to Stanne from Dark Tranquillity, although a little higher. I thought they were very good, and the vocalist did a very good job in combining the harsh vocals with the melodies. Other than the harsh vocals, there are clean vocals which are a quite good. I’ve obviously heard better, but I thought they did a good job of it. This was probably because almost all clean singing sections are done against an acoustic back-drop, which I thought were all amazing. During the clean singing, the vocalist will occasionally put in spoken word sections, which were reminiscent of The Cranberries. If anybody has heard the song Yeat’s Grave, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Overall, I thought there were some brilliant tracks on the album. It is let down by 2 or 3 songs which are quite average, but tracks such as ‘Sunrise’, ‘King of the Faeries’, ‘A Heroes Lament’ and ‘Awakening’ more than make up for it. I’m also aware that not everybody is as much of a sucker for Irish music as I am, so I’ll try and reflect that in my rating. Personally, I give the album a 4, but objectively it gets a 3.5. So if you like anything Irish, and have a thing for metal, this is definitely a great album for you. I recommend it to anybody who likes bands like Cruachan, Primordial, The Pogues, The Cranberries, maybe even Suidakra.
- The melody
- Good vocals, both clean and harsh
- Production is quite good
- Tin-whistle rules my world.
- A couple of songs are average, such as ‘Born to the Fight’ and ‘Once Upon an Era’
Sunrise (everyone needs to hear this)
King of the Faeries
A Heroes Lament