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Cairdeas Fala – Sons of the North

Cairdeas Fala is an atmospheric black metal band from Australia that records songs about Scottish heritage. It was recently formed by Stu Callinan, who is also involved in the bands Galaxy and Sylvan Awe. Their first full-length, Sons of the North, was released at the beginning of last year. In a genre oversaturated with nihilism, Satan worship, and other nonsense, this album is a breath of fresh air.

The production has that cloudy quality that is common in atmospheric black metal. It makes you feel like you’re journeying through the foggy moors of Scotland. Stylistically, it reminds me of the Blazbirth Hall, as it places emphasis on drawn-out passages that create a chilling yet mystical atmosphere. The drums typically play simple yet vigorous blast beats that are repeated for minutes on end to mesmerize the listener. These are broken up by mid-paced rhythms that occasionally include galloping double bass, the best example of which can be found on “Of Truth & Fire”.

Unlike most other black metal bands, the vocals here consist of a hoarse growl reminiscent of several doom-death bands. These are sometimes paired with low, droning clean vocals on songs like “1314”. The guitars spend a large portion of the album playing cold tremolo riffs that have a strong sense of melody and conjure up images of glorious historic battles. “Herald of War” is an excellent example of this. When things slow down, they play simple mid-paced chords that have a folkish quality to them. These are most prominent on songs like “Forever Strong”.

Not only is Sons of the North written and performed extremely well, but it’s also one of those metal albums that has a strong spiritual quality, perhaps owing to Stu’s glorification of his ancestors and homeland. It is my hope that this album and others like it inspire future metal bands to honor their cultures and traditions and breathe new life into this stagnant scene.