Cnoc An Tursa – The Giants Of Auld (Candlelight Records)

It’s a death metal album, for folks’ sake.

Often when a band proclaims to be ‘folk metal’ it usually means they have a fiddler in the ranks. Rare it is to find a band so steeped in the history of their country that even the lyrics are part of their heritage and the folk element is more than just a gimmick. But this is exactly what Scottish band Cnoc An Tursa do.

For those not fluent in Gaelic (what do they even teach kids at school nowadays?) the name means “hill of sorrow” but this debut album, The Giants Of Auld, is a mountain of delight.

A sweeping death metal showcase, each track takes works by traditional Scottish poets and sets these evocative words to a blasting soundtrack.

Sir Walter Scott, John Stuart Blackie and Robert Burns could never have hoped they would find their work on a death metal album. Nor would most metal fans and so Winter: A Dirge and Ettrick Forest In November have to be heard to be believed.

It all works spectacularly well. The ferocity and intensity of the music blends perfectly with the rhythm of the poetry and traditional Scottish songs like The Piper O' Dundee. To be honest, unless you know the poems in question the death metal vocal delivery will not stir much in you. But read the poems as you listen and it will all make sense.

The Giants Of Auld does more than just make a lot of noise and tell stories of mutilation and gore. True, this is what we love about death metal but Cnoc An Tursa want us to see beyond this. A band that is proud of its heritage and the music it loves, wearing all on its sleeve. A sensational debut album.

The Giants of Auld is out now on Candlelight Records.