Mael Mórdha – Manannan   Leave a comment

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Ok i must confess from the outset, the only album i have ever heard from this band from Ireland was 2007’s “Gealtacht Mael Mórdha”. That album had two monumental tracks, “Atlas Of Sorrow” and “Godless Commune of Sodom” while the rest of the album left me kind of bored.
With this new album, “Manannan” i was hoping for a entire album in the style of those two tracks to satisfy my need for raw and bleak Doom Metal. I am sorry to say, this album failed but it has some good points just the same. There is a couple of interesting facts about the band, one is they entered the Eurovision Song Contest a few years and i don’t know any band within the Doom Metal realm to ever try that. The other unique factor is they are regarded to be the only “Gaelic” Doom Metal band in existence. I don’t know how true this is and my knowledge on anything Gaelic is limited anyway. Calling this band Doom Metal is a stretch also, terms like Folk Metal, Viking Metal or even Epic Metal seem to be more fitting and they are a little Doom tinged but that is about it. Here i go again debating sub-genres of Doom Metal but i think its a valid point.

The album begins with the bludgeoning “Through the Lungs Of The Dead” with the heavy use of wind instruments over a chugging Doomy riff, pretty good so far. The vocals of Roibéard Ó Bogail have never impressed me too much with this band and they still don’t, they sound strained and at times too thin for the musical themes they are trying to get across. Musically though there is much to admire, guitar flourishes, powerful drumming and a nice arrangement that builds to a great climax. Second track, “The Summoning” is the closest they get to traditional Doom Metal sound, in fact its pretty close to Candlemass at times. Once again it builds and builds till you get to a Black-Metalish crescendo. “The Doom of the Races of Éire” has heavy riffing that fits in well with of all things, happy sounding flute playing. On paper it may seem like a disastrous idea but it actually works quite well as it gives off a cinematic quality. “Our Ancestors Dwell Here” is dramatic with exciting guitar work, the whole song plays more like a movie score than a metal tune. Harmony vocals, more flutes and a wall of guitar sounds that are rich in melancholy, for some reason the song reminded me of Norwegian band Funeral. The title track, “Manannán” is up next and it has a magical atmosphere that lasts for nearly eight, emotional minutes even though its essentially a Folk-Rock track.

“A Nation in Ruins” brings the vibe back to a more standard Doom vibe with Sabbath influenced guitar work especially towards the ending. This track has a spoken word part in Gaelic which adds another dimension to the song. “The Gaelic Twilight” sounds remarkably like something The Gates Of Slumber would do with a more up-tempo headbanging riff than usual, thunderous drumming that is bound to get some fists in the air in a live performance. The final track called “Back to Éire I Go With A Heavy Heart” sits something between the Doom of Candlemass and the Goth-Rock vibe of My Dying Bride. The rousing vocals and nicely distorted guitars verge on being Black Metal at times even with the included flutes. So there you have it, i still don’t like the vocals and musically its a mixed bag. The musicianship and production is excellent and without a doubt this album sounds more like a dedicated concept compared to the previous release which to me sounded like a bunch of songs thrown together without any firm direction. If you are a fan of Primordial but still like dabbling in more traditional instruments in conjunction with Doom Metal based guitar work, then this is for you. Released on Grau Records, “Manannan” is bound to please a lot of people and you can tell some of these songs will kick ass in a live show. For me, i am still not much of a fan but i respect the hell out of what they do. Give it a listen, you might like it. 6/10

Official Website
Mael Mórdha @ MySpace
Mael Mordha @ Grau Records
Mael Mórdha @ Karmageddon Media

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Posted June 9, 2010 by doommantia in Mael Mordha

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