Aes Dana – Formors

aesdana_032707_formorsI was expecting a rewarding and engaging experience from this listen based on the bio’s description of “Celtic Black Metal”. I have long been a fan of bands like Suidakra (early works) and more recently the incredible Gauhaert. Not to mention I have always found an ear for traditional Isles and Celtic music. When bands step outside of their metal influences to incorporate other styles of music I believe it should always be applauded (so long as they are fitting of course). “Formors” comes across as an honest attempt at combining two styles of music not commonly associated to each other. When the decision is made to do this, compromises have to be made. Is it a “Celtic Metal” band or a “Metal Celtic” band? There is a difference. Look at Skyclad. They were much more at home in the folk world than the metal world. The “metal” ties seem only fitting because of Martin’s involvement in Sabbat. Thus, Skyclad’s crossover appeal was more varied than the bitter ideas or opinions commonly found in metal communities both today and yesteryear. A relatively unknown band like Aes Dana doesn’t have experience as a wealthy pot to take away from like the aforementioned (despite existing for well over a decade). So how do our ears find “Formors”? After giving this repeated listens I did find a majority of the material enjoyable but not memorable and the album’s flaws seemed to outnumber the strengths. The performance is excellent. You can instantly tell these are all seasoned and tested players. But the approach to “Celtic Black Metal” suffers from a focused idea of just what that style should or might sound like. There are several sections of “Formors” that sound completely Celtic. But as the guitars start heading in more black metal terrain – the flute seems almost forced and aimlessly following the key of the music without any direction or significance other than its own novelty. Another thing I found a problem with were the fierce vocals. While they are performed well, they don’t seem to find a niche within the musical aims and, instead, seem out-of-place to the parts of this album that almost seem to actually work. It’s as if the two genres are battling each other rather than coexisting on an even playing field. That, ultimately, was my biggest problem with “Formors” along with its clean but lifeless production. I would still urge people familiar with bands like Mael Mordha to give this a listen and decide for themselves if this album fits their own specific tastes. I will keep an ear out for Aes Dana as I believe they have the talent and potential to create the album I know they are capable of making. – TRA

~ by martyworm on January 3, 2009.

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