Dalriada
Nyárutó

When I fall for a band,  I fall HARD. In 2015 it was Vallendusk, and early last year it was Sabaton, and my latest infatuation has been with Hungary’s prolific Celtic/folk metal act Dalriada (formerly known as Echoes of Dalriada). I discovered them on Spotify while listening to the Asmegin radio station, the song “Hajdútánc” from the band’s 2011 effort Ígéret came on and I was hooked, purchasing the band’s considerable discography and pretty well binge listening for 2 straight months.

Which leads us to album number 10 (or 9 depending if you count 2016s Forras, an acoustic album)  another season/month themed release in Nyárutó (late summer/Fall).  And the recipe for success is still here as it has been pretty much since the band changed names and developed from their more earlier, raw, blackened sound into the lavish folk metal collective they are now.

The album fits right in with the last few releases Ígéret , Napisten hava, and Áldás, (all three being my favorites) being big brash, peppy, catchy mixes of bombastic guitars, ethnic vocals and choruses, epic keyboards and  Celtic/native instrumentation (violins, flutes, accordions, pipes etc) . That said, it does seem a little more somber, tempered and restrained than than those releases. The band culls from a wide array of influences such as Equilibrium, Metsatoll, Skalmond, Finntroll, Arkona and some of Napalm Records female fronted bands, but their Celtic/Hungarian/Slavic mix keeps them sounding unique.

The core duo of vocalist Laura Binder and founder/guitarist/vocalist András Ficzek are the driving force of the band’s now locked in sound. Binder providing delicate singing and the occasional blackened rasp with Ficzek delivering lean male vocals. As they have in the past, the band is a bit predictable often leaning a little hard on the infamous  I–V–vi–IV chord progression in various arrays,  and the songs are still a bit long, but it’s still everso  catchy and energizing.

The band is at their best when delivering more bouncy, uptempo folk romps like the ridiculously rambunctious “Búsirató” or “Komámasszon” which are downright addictive. But a majority of the album is a pleasant , comfortable mid paced trot and sway such as opener “Megöltek egy legényt” (with some cool Amorphis-ish  Hammond organ useage)   “Hollórege”,  “Thury György Balladája” (part 1) and penultimate track “Áldja meg az Isten”,  but even then, the band often locks into a chorus that hooks you in and sticks with you long after the song is over (i.e the title track with its epic choir and bouncy “Thury György Balladája” (part 2) ). “Táltosok álma” breaks the mold a bit with some death metal vocals and a more urgent pace (and more Hammond organ), but it’s not a common delivery amid the often safe pacing.

Though not quite up there with my three favorite albums listed above, Nyárutó is everso close and does contain a couple of killer tracks that match “Tündérkert” (arguably my favorite  Dalraida song) “A Dudas” and “Napom, fényes napom” (from Napisten hava), Ígéret’s title track or “Futóbetyár” and “Moldvageddon” from Áldás  in Dalriada’s considerably brilliant pantheons and will still be in my 2018 year end list.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
January 31st, 2018

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