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Cnoc An Tursa | 'The Giants of Auld'

Something’s definitely brewing up there in Scotland, with a number of black metal bands popping up lately like Candlelight newcomers Cnoc An Tursa, who are the latest to add their names to the pack.

Despite being their first album, ‘The Giants of Auld’, has been a number of years in gestation, being the follow-up to 2008’s demo release.

What caused this delay is anyone’s guess; maybe it was meticulous quality control or personal issues throwing up a few roadblocks.

However, it doesn’t quite sound like a band that spent nearly five years poring over every detail. Granted, ‘The Giants of Auld’ is well produced, expertly crafted and there’s little to fault with the overall execution of their brand of melodic-minded black metal.

Make no mistake, it’s a good album, even sometimes great but what Cnoc An Tursa can lack is their own sense of identity.

The band trod on well-worn paths but still execute their black metal with an honest fervour that you really can’t deny, as heard on the blistering razor edged riff that instigates first track proper ‘The Lion of Scotland’, making Cnoc An Tursa’s MO more than clear.

This is an album shamelessly instilled with Dimmu Borgir’s finer moments such as ‘Enthrone Darkness Triumphant’, with sleek melodic riffing over a bed of typical black metal blasting, soaring orchestral synths and rasping biting vocals.

Where it can be grandiose in parts, ‘The Giants of Auld’ isn’t grossly ostentatious at the same time, proven very much by the concise and succinct running time of just less than 40 minutes.

Lyrically, the band is informed by a sense of homeland, heritage and history, also taking a great deal of influence from revered Scottish poets and playwrights like Robert Burns and Walter Scott, from whom they’ve drawn the subject matter for ‘The Giants of Auld’.

Once again, clearly a lot of thought went into crafting the themes of this album but, musically, it doesn’t scale to the same lofty heights.

‘In Shadowland’ is a track that sees the band at their best though, playing to their strengths of majestic lead guitar work and imposing hooks but it finds itself met by tracks like ‘Winter A Dirge’, which plods along on wearisome grounds into album closer, ‘Culloden Moor’, a marked improvement to end with, to be fair.

‘The Giants of Auld’ is an album of clearly defined ups and rough edged downs, and if you placed them in a sea of other black metal bands, they’re more than likely to get lost in the shuffle.

2.8/5 – Jonathan Keane ::: 07/04/13

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  1. That’s pretty terrible.

  2. Incredibly cheesy, not a fan.

  3. Total Thyrfing rip-off, it sounds exactly the same, even the vocals.

  4. thrashattack Says:

    Yea true enough about the sample track but IMO its probably the weakest song on the album so I wouldnt let it put you off too much.

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