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Review: Mael Mordha - Manannan
Mael Mordha

Label: Grau Records
Year released: 2010
Duration: 45:33
Tracks: 8
Genre: Doom Metal

Rating: 5/5

Review online: August 5, 2010
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating

Rated 3.94/5 (78.82%) (34 Votes)

At last we get the new one from the mighty Mael Mordha, three years after Gealtacht Mael Mordha proved something of a small step down from the brilliance of their debut. I had high, high hopes for this, and on first spin I thought the band had slipped a bit further. But I can't stop listening to this, and after repeated plays I really think it might be their best work.

The "Doom" part in their description was always a bit iffy, as Mael Mordha have never really been a Doom band. What they play is a powerful, epic style of Heavy Metal infused with melodies and flourishes from Celtic music. At first blush the guitar sound here is less heavy and pummeling than on previous works, and I think the lack of downtuning was undertaken to give their music more sweep in the vein of that greatest of Irish bands, Primordial. On this album Mael Mordha sound more like Primordial than ever before, but less in an imitative way than in the exercise of a genuine, recognizable style.

What cannot be argued is that on this disc Mael Mordha has forged the greatest riffs of their career, and the album keeps picking up momentum as it goes along. The first two tracks are good, but then we hit "The Doom of the Races of Eire" and the album proceeds straight to 'fucking incredible', and then continues with tracks like "Our Ancestors Dwell Here" or "The Gaelic Twilight". After this point, there is not really a moment of the album that is not flat-out awesome, and repeated listens just serve to deepen the experience. Vocalist Roibeard O Bogail is off the charts on this album, as his performance is so raw it's on the edge of losing control, but just when you swear he has gone off-key he clicks right back where he should be and proves that he knows exactly what he is doing at every moment.

Mael Mordha have sacrificed a bit of their visceral punch for texture and layer, and it has paid off enormously. With Manannan, the band has stepped beyond a simple genre band and achieved real art. Listen close, listen deeply, and you will hear it.

Other related information on the site
Review: Cluain Tarbh (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Damned When Dead (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Gaeltacht Mael Mordha (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Manannan (reviewed by Hermer Arroyo)
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