Release: 1 December 2023
Label: Trollzorn Records
There’s no need to start with the band’s lore: the name Skiltron has rightly been amongst the greatest names in the field of folk metal, for the good and relevant contribution the members have been giving to the genre since their very first steps, managing to become a great influence to upcoming bands throughout their 25 years of life. With this in mind, we celebrate their 6th album “Bruadarach” after seven years of waiting!
Released via Trollzorn Records, the band delivers us their typical combination of heavy metal, power metal and vigorous folk bagpipes, with Celtic pride. Now, this time the various components are spread through the various songs according to the feeling recalled, although most of the tracks are anthems of independence and battle: all fine for them, so let’s get slightly deeper. There’s the very first song “As We Fight” – raging fast with fierce mood, as usual for power metallers. Next track “This battle is my own” turns out slower than the previous and features very classical metal parts such as a calm guitar solo and verses without electric guitar just with an atmospheric sound of keyboard in the background and, of course, the deep vocals; I’ll also add that’s been my favorite track of the whole album. Right into a new track “Where the Heart Is” and we get flooded again with fast bagpipes and guitar solos. If that was not for the more folky parts I’d close my eyes and think to be listening to an heavy metal album from thirty years ago, just to let you understand. I think they’ve done a good job of alternating slow and fast tempos throughout the whole album.
Another song “Proud to Defend” follows and again, if I close my eyes I’d pretend to be listening to a march from the depths of the Celtic roots into some Irish national ceremony – all filled with the usual dose of heavy metal and so on. A filler instrumental between the two halves of the album plays right before starting with “I Am What I Am” which immediately recalls the 3rd track This Battle is my Own for themes and rhythm; what’s interesting here is the 3/4 Tin-Whistle solo bridge near the end of the song. 8th song A Treasure Beyond Imagination walks on the same path as the previous one (both with a slower tempo than average) and leaves more space to flute and bouzouki.
Soon after 8th track “Rob Roy” starts with almost the same structure as As We Fight and this could sound repetitive at the beginning especially while listening to the whole album straight, but the band has the right supply of ideas to deliver through the songs and make them different from each other even when they are based on the same key. For instance this time is the turn of a speed solo and a swingy chorus “Rob, Rob…”, while on Haste Ye Back we finally got a full 3/4 tempo-ed track… time to march again in Celtic fields.
These are the moods you’ll find in the new Skiltron album; great listeners of folk metal probably already know the kind of music to find here although I’d say that drums have certainly been improved this time. I mean they were still there on their earlier trials but this time they got heavier and heavier and contribute directly to the songs’ strength. Listen to Bruadarach with headphones or on a stereo and you’ll get what I mean.
That’s all folks! A final personal note: Celtic is not my first go-to when it comes to folk metal, but I’m sure others will enjoy this just like me, as this is certainly another win for Skiltron.
- Triumph & Devotion (Intro)
- As We Fight
- This Battle Is My Own
- Where The Heart Is
- Proud To Defend
- Turadh (Instrumental)
- I Am What I Am
- A Treasure Beyond Imagination
- Rob Roy
- Haste Ye Back
- Saor Alba (Outro)