Cover image for Crann Tara

This review was written by Nemetona for Wyldlings Issue 3 (the Wyldwood Radio Newsletter in September 2013)


Cover image for Crann Tara

Cover image for Crann Tara

I know a lot of The Dolmen’s music and I have to admit, I hadn’t heard Saor Patrol before I heard this album. Before the first listen, I wasn’t sure what to expect; I knew The Dolmen’s style, but I wasn’t sure how it would work as a combination with Saor Patrol. On hearing the first few bars of the opening song Crann Tára, I knew this would be an album I would be astonished by.

Going through an energetic journey through the emotions of battle, victory, loss and sadness, this is an album to enjoy many times over. Not only do you have the vibrant battle energy of songs like Slaughtered Foes or the realistic sounds of war included on Dead in the Water; but there is also the softer side as seen on Mists on the Fields of War and Carry Me Home.

Changing the vocals from male to female really works for the variety of emotions the album invokes. The vocals are used in a spectacular way throughout the album to set the mood and feeling for the situation being described whether it’s that of reflection or happiness, you know from the beginning of a song where it’s going to take you. The sheer difference between the use of female vocals on Slaughtered Foes and Braid the Memories is a very good example. Braid the Memories is a softer song, but still focusing on the loss of battle, and Keri Pinney’s vocals fit perfectly. Moving onto Slaughtered Foes, Kayleigh Marchant’s vocals work to bring out the raw power of the feeling that battle brings. The sheer hatred for the enemy you are facing against, riding high on the victory of being the side winning the war is reflected in the triumphant and boldly sung vocals. It’s like riding on the adrenaline and you don’t care who hears the triumphant outbursts.

One of my favourite songs on the whole album is In the Flesh. The intro leads you straight into amazing chanting, taking you through driving rhythm on the drums, guitar and bagpipes. The main part of the song keeps the energy throughout and driving on and on. It would most definitely be a song to dance to if seeing them perform it live! My other favourites to note are Saviour and Braid the Memories. Saviour follows on directly from In the Flesh, and is a wonderful display of the drums really bringing out the meaning of the song. When the main singing part comes in, whilst wearing headphones it’s almost like the singers are in your head; it is incredible to listen to! I also enjoy Braid the Memories because of the use of haunting vocals combined with the ‘sing along’ feeling of the chorus. After a few listens through, it’s good to be singing along to that one; it’s not something you can stop yourself from doing.

The shorter songs are also really nice to have in-between the longer ones. Carry Me Home is the first song that’s shorter on the album, at 2 minutes 34 seconds. With the beautiful softer vocals from Kayleigh, it really brings out the meaning of the song; carrying home your loved ones from a war or battle. A peaceful song, especially with the addition of Taloch’s flute. The next song which is shorter is the 1 minute 10 second Mists on the Fields of War. With the intro of a storm, it’s a lovely break in-between the longer songs. It gives me shivers every time I hear it!

Overall, the album is incredible. It starts off kicking and screaming, and although the last song is an instrumental with the sounds of battle accompanied by bagpipes, it doesn’t lose it’s energy at all. A wonderful journey through the lands of the old Clans, and a peek into the feeling of battle and victory.

It is very different to what The Dolmen have done before, and to be written and recorded in just 4 days, it is incredible! I am very happy that the two bands met in such a way that allowed this album to happen.

Track list:

  1. Crann Tára
  2. Bonnie Brave
  3. The Fiery Cross
  4. Brothers Fallen
  5. Braid the Memories
  6. Slaughtered Foes
  7. Broken Heroes
  8. Carry Me Home
  9. In the Flesh
  10. Saviour
  11. Mists on Fields of War
  12. Dead in the Water

To find out more about The Dolmen, please visit: www.thedolmen.com

To find out more about Saor Patrol, please visit: www.saorpatrol.com