Celtic metal

Infobox Music genre
name=Celtic metal
bgcolor=#BB0022
color=white
stylistic_origins=Folk metal
Celtic music
cultural_origins=Mid 1990s Ireland
instruments=Electric guitar - Bass - Drums - Vocals - Folk instruments
popularity=Europe since the early 2000s
derivatives=
subgenrelist=Heavy metal music
fusiongenres=
regional_scenes=Ireland

Celtic metal is a subgenre of folk metal that developed in the 1990s in Ireland. As the name suggests, the genre is a fusion of heavy metal music and Celtic music. The early pioneers of the genre were the three Irish bands Cruachan, Primordial and Waylander. The genre has since expanded beyond Irish shores and is known to be performed today by bands from numerous other countries.

History

The origins of Celtic metal can be traced to the earliest known exponent of folk metal, the English band Skyclad. Their "ambitious" and "groundbreaking" debut album "The Wayward Sons of Mother Earth" was released in 1990 [cite web |author=Rivadavia, Ed |title= AMG "The Wayward Sons of Mother Earth" Review |publisher=Allmusic |url=http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:k9fuxqu5ldhe |accessdate=2008-03-10] with the song "The Widdershins Jig" acclaimed as "particularly significant" and "a certain first in the realms of Metal". [cite web |author=Sharpe-Young, Garry |title=Rockdetector Skyclad Biography |url=http://www.rockdetector.com/officialbio,8159.sm |publisher=Rockdetector |accessdate=2008-03-10] This debut album made an impact on a young Keith Fay who had formed a Tolkien-inspired black metal band by the name of Minas Tirith.cite web |author=Bolther, Giancarlo |title=Interview with Keith Fay of Cruachan |publisher=Rock-impressions.com |url=http://www.rock-impressions.com/cruachan_inter1e.htm |accessdate=2008-03-10] Skyclad would go on to develop a "now legendary folky jig style" with a "prominent inclusion of the fiddle playing lead lines and melodies normally associated with the lead guitar parts of most other rock bands." [cite web |author=Boylin, Alex |title=Skyclad Biography |publisher=Metalstorm.ee |url=http://www.metalstorm.ee/bands/biography.php?band_id=323&bandname=Skyclad |accessdate=2008-03-10]

Inspired by the music of Skyclad, Keith Fay set out to combine black metal with the folk music of Ireland. He formed the Irish band Cruachan in 1992 with a demo recording released in 1993.cite web |author=Sharpe-Young, Garry |title=Rockdetector Cruachan Biography |url=http://www.rockdetector.com/officialbio,1998.sm |publisher=Rockdetector |accessdate=2008-03-10] Like Waylander, Keith Fay also credits the Irish rock band Horslips as a "huge influence on Cruachan," further noting that "what they were doing in the 70's is the equivalent of what we do now." Cruachan's debut album "Tuatha Na Gael" was released in 1995 and the band has since been acclaimed as having "gone the greatest lengths of anyone in their attempts to expand" the genre of folk metal.cite web |author=Rivadavia, Eduardo |title=AMG Cruachan |url=http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:kvfexq8kldae~T1 |publisher=Allmusic |accessdate=2008-03-10] With a specific focus on Celtic music and the use of Celtic mythology in their lyrics, Cruachan's style of folk metal is known today as Celtic metal.cite web |author=Bowar, Chad |title=What Is Heavy Metal? |url=http://heavymetal.about.com/od/heavymetal101/a/101_history.htm |publisher=About.com |accessdate=2008-03-11]

Parallel to Cruachan, the black metal act Primordial also released a demo recording in 1993 and "found themselves heralded as frontrunners in the burgeoning second-wave black metal movement." [cite web |author=Monger, James Christopher |title=AMG Primordial |publisher=Allmusic |url=http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:3pfwxq9jldse |accessdate=2008-03-12] Irish music plays "a very big role" in Primordial but in "a dark and subtle way" through the chords and timings. [cite web |author=S., Mike |title=Interview with Alan Nemtheanga of Primordial |url=http://www.deadtide.com/interviews/page.php?id=84 |publisher=Deadtide.com |accessdate=2008-03-12] The band has since "established themselves as one of the most unique sounding bands in the folk-meets-black metal field."cite web |author=Young, James |title=Primordial Concert Review |url=http://www.live4metal.com/live-20.htm |publisher=Live4metal.com |accessdate=2008-03-12]

The year 1993 also saw the formation of Waylander.cite web |author=Sharpe-Young, Garry |title=Rockdetector Waylander |publisher=Rockdetector |url=http://www.rockdetector.com/officialbio,31039.sm |accessdate=2008-03-12] With vocalist Ciaran O'Hagan fronting the group, they released a demo recording in 1995. A debut album "Reawakening Pride Once Lost" was unveiled in 1998. O'Hagan notes that it was a coincidence that "Primordial, Cruachan and Waylander sprang up within little more than a year of each other." Since then a few other bands from Ireland have emerged to perform Celtic metal including Geasa and Mael Mórdha.

Since the turn of the millennium, the genre has expanded and many bands beyond the shores of Ireland can be found today performing Celtic metal. This includes Eluveitie from Switzerland, [cite web |author=Bowar, Chad |title=Interview with Chrigel Glanzmann of Eluveitie |url=http://heavymetal.about.com/od/interviews/a/eluveitie.htm |publisher=About.com |accessdate=2008-03-17] Mägo de Ozcite web |author=Bowar, Chad |title="A Costa Da Morte" Review |publisher=About.com |url=http://heavymetal.about.com/od/cdreviews/fr/magodeozacosta.htm |accessdate=2008-03-14] from Spain, Elvenking from Italy,cite web |author=Henderson, Alex |title="Winter's Wake" Review |publisher=Allmusic |url=http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:h9frxq8dldte |accessdate=2008-03-17] Suidakra from Germanycite web |author=Bowar, Chad |title="Caledonia" Review |publisher=About.com |url=http://heavymetal.about.com/od/cdreviews/fr/suidakracaledon.htm |accessdate=2008-03-13] and Tuatha de Danann from Brazil.cite web| author=Ngolls, Josh |title="Tingaralatingadun" Review |publisher=Tartareandesire.com |url=http://www.tartareandesire.com/reviews/Tuatha_de_Danann/Tingaralatingadun/1269/ |accessdate=2008-03-13]

Despite the Irish origins of the genre, Celtic metal is not known to be popular in Ireland. Ciaran O'Hagan of Waylander notes that while "Primordial are Ireland’s biggest Metal band in terms of sales and international profile" the band would be "lucky to sell much more than 500 copies of their albums in their own country or pull more than 300 punters to a gig." Bands in the genre have experienced a more enthusiastic reception elsewhere with Mägo de Oz notably experiencing strong chart success in their native Spain, Mexico and South America.cite web |author=Sharpe-Young, Garry |title=Rockdetector Mägo de Oz |publisher=Rockdetector |url=http://www.rockdetector.com/artist,31016.sm |accessdate=2008-03-17]

Characteristics

Similar to its parent genre of folk metal, the music of Celtic metal is a diverse collection with bands pursuing different subgenres of heavy metal music. While bands such as Primordial and Suidakra ply their trade with the more extreme subgenres of black or death metal, other groups like Mägo de Oz and Elvenking prefer a more traditional or power metal sound. The one common element is a shared interest in incorporating Celtic music into heavy metal.

Many bands in the genre enhance their sound with the use of a folk instrument. The fiddle is used by such bands as Mägo de Oz, Elvenking, [cite web |author=Sharpe-Young, Garry |title=Rockdetector Elvenking |publisher=Rockdetector |url=http://www.rockdetector.com/artist,31164.sm |accessdate=2008-03-17] Eluveitiecite web |author=Sharpe-Young, Garry |title=Rockdetector Eluveitie |publisher=Rockdetector |url=http://www.rockdetector.com/artist,45924.sm |accessdate=2008-03-13] and Tuatha de Danann. [cite web |author=Sharpe-Young, Garry |title=Rockdetector Tuatha de Danann |publisher=Rockdetector |url=http://www.rockdetector.com/artist,32977.sm |accessdate=2008-03-17] The tin whistle and flute, can be found in such bands as Cruachan, Waylander and Eluveitie. While the Irish bands of the genre make use of native instruments such as the uilleann pipe and bodhrán.

List of bands

See also

*Folk metal

References


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