Tour de Garde, 2011
Genre: Black Metal
1. The Infinite Void
2. Promethean Age
3. The Crimson Hand
5. Night Descends
6. Circe of Rape
7. Anord Sigrai
8. A Thousand Shades of Grey
This was sort of a random purchase on my behalf. It was in a list of tapes and I like the things Tour de Garde has done, for whatever reason I searched the name and listened to a sample. I only heard a couple minutes and I was instantly hooked. "Hunger" is Fuil Na Seanchoille's debut full-length and comes after two demos, which I don't own yet. I was surprised to see this was a one man project of Satyrign from Ireland. I actually don't have a lot of material hailing out of Ireland unfortunately... but if there is more like this out there I want more. As far as I know this has only been released on cassette and it is limited to 300 copies. A very unfortunate thing, given how solid "Hunger" is. It comes with a pro-printed tape and a wonderful multi-page booklet with Gustav Dore art with the lyrical passages printed in various locations. One thing I do like is that it doesn't use one of Dore's overused pictures in Black Metal.
"Hunger" opens with the incredible "The Infinite Void", which reminded me a lot of Tenebrae in Perpetuum. I am quite happy with this, since I like seeing that projects sound kept alive after they are gone. Fuil Na Seanchoille play the kind of raw and harsh Black Metal I really love. In their hands that sound enhances their songs a lot. The recording quality is just good enough to make out what is going on. The harshness adds a layer of vicious and dense darkness to the songs being performed. This is sort of how Tenebrae in Perpetuum used their production value as well, but Fuil Na Seanchoille is merely influenced by the great Italian project. "Hunger" does an excellent job of combining some intense raging passages with droning melancholic moments and somehow doesn't break the atmosphere generated by the whole album. I think, actually, the rhythmic and haunting bass line really holds the transitions together extremely well.
Fuil Na Seanchoille is raw Black Metal done right. If you want to get an idea of how to perform this style to its highest effect, check this project out. "Hunger" is a desolate journey of hatred and melancholy. It's almost a shame so few people will hear it amidst the Black Metal scene... then again sometimes that might be a good thing.
Genre: Black Metal
1. Bitter Dusk of Futures Past
2. Dorchadas Agus Foréigean / Deireadh Fómhair MDLXXX
3. Monuments to Ruin
After the success of the first demo Fuil Na Seanchoille return in the following year with four new songs. Like the first demo this is a xeroxed cover with dubbed tape and limited to 100 copies. This time the booklet is a little more interesting to look at. It has actual cover art, features a picture of the man behind the project and is also a double sided printed booklet.
This second demo has a much higher quality feel to it. The writing feels even more fleshed out than before. The title track has a really incredibly haunting feel to the nature of the song. At first I thought the band would take a more haunting approach to their sound, but the more "attack" feel to their music comes back in the second track... which has a title that is way too long. It does make sense because the track does fall off into some haunting ambience at some point. After the ambience break the demo does pick up again with the hate filled style I've come to expect from the project.
A higher quality effort than the first demo, which is what we would expect from a growing project. It seems they've nailed that harsh recording style to blend into their music even better than before. I truly hope a full-length will be imminent after this demo, because it feels like the writing is ready for it as well. A great second demo and I highly recommend people check this project out sooner than later.
Genre: Black Metal
1. As an tOrithear
2. Bánú Na Ammanna Críoch
This is Fuil Na Seanchoille's debut to the world. As one would expect this is a fairly harsh and raw demo tape. It comes with a xeroxed cover and dubbed tape limited to 100 copies. The crumpled looking cover design really gives this a do-it-yourself look more than a lot of other demo tapes I come across.
Musically Fuil Na Seanchoille borrow a lot from the realms of Tenebrae in Perpetuum, which is a great compliment in my opinion, since a lot of bands don't borrow from them much. Even though they are rooted in that dark Italian style, Fuil Na Seanchoille feel a lot more hateful and vicious in their style. For some reason their rhythmic landscape just comes across as so much darker, which gives it a more hateful feel. Perhaps part of the reason is the vocals, rather than the high shrieks of the Italians we have more of a mid-range approach with a lot of echo. It makes for a wonderful blend and really works with this sound a lot.
A very successful debut in my opinion. Some people may be turned off by the ultra harsh recording style, but it really works for the Fuil Na Seanchoille experience. So, if you enjoyed what Tenebrae in Perpetuum had to offer the world, this band may be worth watching. As they grow in the sound they may develop it in a different direction, for now the demo is heavily rooted in the original sound.