Keith O'Fathaigh - Cruachan
Those Irish Metal Folk Lords known as Cruachan have just released their new album called 'Blood On The Black Robe'. These very wild rovers whelp with wolfe tone, and then the bloody sons dance a jubilant jig; all the while heeding Morrigan's Call.
I spoke with founding musician extraordinaire - Keith "Fay" O'Fathaigh - all about the band's Celtic legacy, and the new album, which even if minus the terrific talent of Karen Gilligan, still endures as a viscous, vicious blend of primeval odium, pagan hate, and provocative provender, sure to slander the louche and inspire the lugubrious. In our but brief tryst, we sojourned to the Metal kingdom, so read on...
MettleAngel: Hey Brother, I am an avid supporter of the band. I have all of your albums, and a digital promo of your latest.
MettleAngel: I am very drawn to the Irish Tradition, and lyrical themes expressed in your music.
MettleAngel: I have always commented that Cruachan is a solid blend of both Sabbat and Skyclad. I even spoke with Martin Walkyier about this, and he taught me how to properly pronounce the band name.
MettleAngel: Martin coined the term "Mythhistory". I have learned so much about both concepts, by reading your lyrics, and liner-notes. I do not have the lyrics for the new album, so I am a bit at a loss.
MettleAngel: I will have to get my hands on the CD. I learned so much over the years listening to Skyclad, and I told that to Martin. I want to thank you personally for expanding my knowledge about all things Irish.
MettleAngel: That essence endures even on the new album.
MettleAngel: You play a variety of instruments like the Bodhran, Mandolin, Bouzouki, Banjo, as well as all guitars. When you resonate with your unique raspy vocals, it makes for a strange but wicked sensation.
MettleAngel: Bands like Rainbow and Jethro Tull from the UK set this precedent, but when Cruachan and Skyclad attempted it, it simply was not initially accepted in the early '90s.
MettleAngel: Waylander is the only other contemporary act I can think of, who was attempting this.
MettleAngel: I noticed that the new album has a more stripped down DIY approach. You are returning to your primitive roots. I see that Karen Gilligan has left the band. I always thought she was such an important part of the music, like George Biddle is in Skyclad.
MettleAngel: I see that your brother John "Fay" O'Fathaigh has rejoined the band after a five year hiatus.
MettleAngel: I really like that album, as you sure do delve deep in to the realm of Tolkien. This is something you have always done, even before all the "LOTR" Movie hype.
MettleAngel: What is meant by the title 'Blood On The Black Robe'?
MettleAngel: From what I can cull and gather the song deals with priests, clerics, and druids, right?
MettleAngel: I do see a woman dressed in black with blood on her hands. At first glance, I thought she was a nun, not a priest. I respect your Irish integrity. Here in America, from Boston we have the band known as The Dropkick Murphys. They have garnered quite a loyal following.
MettleAngel: I like many of the songs you have covered. My favourite is "Some Say The Devil Is Dead".
MettleAngel: I get it; you have told us the stories, so now you want us to delve into the fellow Irish character and spirit. You want us to have a vicarious experience with your ancestral folk essence.
MettleAngel: Obviously you are very pleased being signed to Candlelight. Your band fits perfect in their roster. I know you had issues with your past label: Karmageddon Media. They put out 'A Celtic Legacy ', which was a compilation that I understand did not receive your approval.
MettleAngel: I actually like the cover, as I thought that it would be a cool T-shirt design.
MettleAngel: I have heard this one before from Suicidal Tendencies. I recall that Martin was not pleased with the turn out for 'History Lessens'. The cover is very similar to the "Best of" that Noise put out called 'Old Rope'.
MettleAngel: I assume you mean their strong Euro-Metal Power and Traditional thrust. They have signed Elvenking from Italy.
MettleAngel: My promo for 'The Morrigan's Call' came from Candlelight in the plain manila CD slipcase, with the band and album name stamped on what is basically a glorified CD-r.
MettleAngel: Well, it seems like the band has now found the perfect home. In the U.S. you should finally get some recognition; especially, since so many of those folk bands and their silly drinking songs are quite popular here.
MettleAngel: I am so pleased to hear this. Honestly I do prefer the 'Folk-Lore' and 'Pagan' albums most from your discography. I found the new album a little less enthralling; however, given the message you are attempting to express, I can truly understand this.
MettleAngel: I agree, as once I do that I may have a whole other take on the album. I still congratulate on your success, and I wish you all the best.
MettleAngel: You are most welcome.