I'll admit, I was intrigued by the idea of Scottish Pagan Metal. Even with the full understanding of Pagan Metal by definition of the more extreme metal using folk instruments from any religion or culture, the ole' noggin still tends to default to the Norse code. Cnoc An Tursa hail from the lowlands of Scotland. Falkirk, to be exact. They represent their country well, but debut album The Giants Of Auld leave few deposits in the memory bank.
The effort is there, and musically, the skills are there - the guitar work from Rene McDonald Hill and vocalist Alan Buchan is competent, but it's Buchan's vocals that fall short. For Pagan Metal to be effective, there's typically an air of epic storytelling and songwriting that builds and soars majestically. As such, this album should fill the listener's head with images of sporran-clad, caber-tossing haggis galloping over porridge covered glens*. It does not. It does, however conjure up images of the Celtic Women dancing around naked in Kerry King arm spikes.
Beginning with an intro-of-sorts "The Piper O' Dundee", the album kicks off with "The Lion of Scotland", the strongest track on the album. It shows all the promise the band has for future releases. Every track thereafter is a reminder that perhaps Buchan should give up the mic for a more apropos vocalist with less Nu-ances (get it?) and with a range more suitable to the genre.
Look, I'm not trying to shit on The Giants of Auld - for a debut there's a lot of musicianship going on here and as stated before a lot of promise as well. But for a more seasoned, effective example of Celtic Pagan Metal - I would recommend Primordial's The Gathering Wilderness or wait until these lads have a couple more albums under their kilt.
*Blatantly stolen with much love and reverence from Mike Leigh's Naked
5.8 / 10
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