Antichrisis – Legacy of Love Mk II – 5/5
I have spent a while contemplating this album, whether its variety of tones results in natural preference for some over others or whether some tracks were simply not as strong, concluding that the only fitting description is that of the perfect Celtic folk rock album. Sending you the rolling hills of the Irish highlands, capable of bringing a tear to your eye, before rapidly transforming into a boisterous jaunty track fitting for your favourite pub, filled with dancing and singing with a pint of ale at your side all within the opening track; interspersed in this folk rock epic are subtle elements of progressive rock, doom, neo-classical, ambient, and even gothic undertones in some of the darker tracks. Flutes, Uilleann pipes (the Irish equivalent of bagpipes) and violins all make an unrelenting appearance in this show of creativity filled with joy, love and despair.
The drums always present themselves, often with more unusual percussion instruments, at times lending a bombastic tone to the proceedings, constantly maintaining the pace with a variety of beats. There are at least as many acoustic guitars as electric, both lending a rhythm; the former largely through arpeggio’s and the latter through extended chord progressions with a variety of distortion, often in the more aggressive gothic/doom orientated tracks. The occasional solo performance is often kept short so as to not become overly focussed on the single aspect to the piece.
Gentle piano lines (none more spectacular than in ‘Dancing in the midnight sun’) lend a neo-classical feel, whilst the keyboards work to create an epic toned thick backing during certain passages. Perhaps it was a little misleading to state there were violins – it is in fact keyboards (there are two keyboard players) made to mimic their sound with shocking effect, adding any number of atmospheric fills and overlapping harmonies. Both vocalists have an earthy emotion to them; far from the vibrato-laden style in power metal, from the grittier deep male growls to the boisterous and bouncy clean female vocals, they serve to provide an almost endless variety that whilst seems lacking an element of power, the music at no point requires it.
Despite this, it would not be the same without the invaluable contributions of the flutes and pipes; performed superbly to deliver a tone that no other artist I’ve heard can deliver on, making a notable appearance on every track in the form of backing atmosphere and solos. This feels like the odd combination of ‘Kalevala,’ ‘Carved in Stone,’ ‘Crimfall’ and ‘Lyriel’ with more variety than them all combined. It’s been a while since something took me entirely by surprise and (whilst I’m partly blaming the far darker toned debut I listened to first) this has succeeded in showing me a style performed better than I could have imagined. Anyone not scared to try out a slower and more melancholic side to their folk would be foolish not to look into this further.
Highlights: How Can I Live On Top of the Mountain, Our Last Show, Dancing in the Midnight Sun, Baleias Bailando, The Sea
Over the years this has grown into my own personal project, reviewing the artists that I discover and interest me. If you wish to see more of my work, particularly my more metal-orientated material, you can find me as a regular contributor for the online magazine
Posted by T. Bawden Saturday, 3 October 2009