Celtachor create a strong embodiment of folk and black metal with their second demo, 'In The Halls Of Our Ancient Fathers.' For those who have not heard them before, consider them a more 'Celtic version of Immortal.' The music seems almost too simple when it comes to the chugging guitars that are extremely catchy and have a bit of punk rock rhythm to them along with the segmented drum beats and crackling snarls. The only thing that really flows with any beauty is the flute which really adds the folk elements to the music and separates Celtachor from sounding like just another Norwegian black metal knock off, such as on "Rise Of Lugh." The flute parts sometimes play in cohesion with the black metal parts and sometimes separately, but when they perform, listeners may be able to tell that they seem a bit louder than the rest of the music and somewhat overshadow everything. Thankfully though, the flute doesn't perform the same notes over and over so it doesn't get boring.
Celtachor do not always employ folk elements within their music, though. Some tracks like "A Warning To Balor" and "The Wavesweeper" just seem like regular semi-melodic black metal tracks. All the riffs are performed at a mid pace so it feels like a black n' roll style that doesn't blaze by too quickly or seem too repetitive. On a track like "Wavesweeper" it actually speeds up near the end, and in turn adds a lot more energy to heighten the listening experience. Despite the lack of the flute/ tin whistle on tracks like these, the lyrics and razor sharp rhythms carry enough of the Celtic/ Irish tradition without coming off as too much of a viking metal copycat. And at other times the music can be completely void of the black metal influences and sound completely organic and mystical, such as with "Nemed's Wake," which is a very quiet, almost symphonic piece, featuring haunting faded vocals and horn sections that feel like they are coming out of a fog as they grow louder and louder with the track progressing on until it stops and switches to the next track which is more along the lines of the black metal that Celtachor usually perform.
To compare this to so many influences, especially from the Norwegian black metal styles, Celtachor do not really bring anything new to the table as far as sound goes. However, for a demo, this is a very well produced and clean album that very well seems ready to be put into the makings of a full-length. The flute elements seem very real and not mechanical or overused, and the black metal side of the music is catchy, yet not too complex, so it doesn't feel too slick or too overproduced. To hear these guys live would probably sound very similar to how they sound on this album, so there is a strong humanistic atmosphere to the music overall. 'In The Halls..' is definitely worth listening to if one is a fan of black metal with folk influences and doesn't make the music sound too cheesy when including the folk elements. Whereas some bands bog down the listener with so many different instruments, Celtachor take the simple route of using one, which is so much more effective in the long run.
originally written for TMF