|Dalriada - 'Ígéret' (AFM Records)|
|Written by Ian Bell|
|Wednesday, 09 February 2011 05:00|
So begins my first ever journey into the Hungarian Folk Metal scene with this release from Dalriada. To be honest I never knew this scene existed either and wasn't sure of what to make of the message from Uber Rock HQ when being passed the package that ''it will be right up my street'', but as is the natural basic common qualities that all involved in Uber Rock has is that we are open to new musical experiences and for a strange unknown reason I was quite intrigued and was looking forward to giving this a listen.
Echo Of Dalriada formed in 2003 with the epic vision of getting a group of talented musicians together to combine the Traditional, Death, Goth, and Thrash Metal genres and bond then altogether with Hungarian folklore. The band's name dependant on your source was either the first kingdom of the Scots or an ancient Hungarian term for 'battle song', and the use of Echo in the band's name emphasised the latter. Keep with me here, I know, it's all gone a bit Ritchie Blackmore. Echo Of was dropped from their name in 2007, so Dalriada as they are know today set upon spreading the Hungarian Folk Metal word to the masses. Which in itself is quite a task considering all the lyrics are in Hungarian and use the works of the 'famous' Hungarian poet Janos Arany for their authenticity, the band's Hungarian heritage being a key thing for Dalriada.
'Ígéret' is actually album number six from Dalriada, and in the Dalriada world domination plan this is the album to move them out of their home country (where they have already taken over) and into new territories around the world. So to release the album via an international deal with AFM is a great start. The 2 minute 43 second folk intro with crackly vinyl sound affect is a little worrying especially as all the vocals on this album are sung in Hungarian. So any impact lyrically is totally lost on us non-natives, and it's going to be all about the tunes and musicianship. With track one 'Intro' and the final track 'Outro' being about as un-Uber Rock as it gets, I'm glad to say that from track 2 'Hajdutanc' onwards we do move back into more Uber Rock friendly territory.... well sort off. As things set off on a galloping pace with a strong Euro Trash (not Thrash) feel before being interrupted by Euro Power Metal riffing with what appears to be a Danni Filth like imposter covering backing vocals and a full on Folk breakdown to boot mid song.
As with all new albums and largely because I have a complete memory problem, I give everything new a fair shot, with a basic rule of a minimum of four plays in their entirety as I can't judge or take everything in on one play. This album had the same consideration as always and the more I listened to it the more it made sense despite the bizarre mix of styles being poured into the potion. Dalriada pull this off and make the seemingly unworkable work, by producing a fun album with memorable hum along melodies and top-notch musicianship. What they are singing about is anybody's guess and is probably the serious element we should be focusing on here, but who cares?
One thing for sure is you must give 'Ígéret' a chance, open your mind and you may be surprised by all the different musical genres that come together. This might not be in anyone's Top 10 at the end of the year but it will certainly be one of the most memorable releases you will hear in 2011.
Let the Hungarian folk metal roll!