Published on Monday, 01 July 2013 17:56
Band: Fir Bolg
Album title: Towards Ancestral Lands
Release date: 21 June 2013
Label: Schwarzdorn Productions
02. Behind The Great Oppidum
03. Blood Heritage
05. King Of Wallachia
06. Strong Old Megalith
07. Final Battle On The Frozen Lake
08. Mag Tuired
09. Dun Aengus
Fir Bolg was founded in 2006 and only now, seven years later, the debut album is released. The band is actually a solo-project by Dagoth, he's responsible for all vocals, guitar and bass, while the drums on this album are played by his longtime session drummer Abaddon. Towards Ancestral Lands surprises with great, yet strong production, it was recorded in different international studios, while the mix was done by Damien Rainaud at Omen Recording in Los Angeles and mastering by Markus Stock (The Vision Bleak, Empyrium) at the Klangschmiede Studio E in Germany.
After a look at the cover artwork of this album I thought that this is just another folk-metal thing, but it's not like that, yes, to be truthful there are elements that could be counted as such, but the main thing is about black metal and not the usual one, this album is for those who enjoyed masterpieces like At The Heart Of Winter of Immortal, or March Of The Norse of Demonaz. Once the album starts with its short intro we get immersed into some pretty heavy stuff, there already is some mindblowing drumming and very solid guitar riffing. Most of the songs that follow deal with quite captivating guitar lines and melodies that expanse all over the songs, everything supported by impressive drum work. The tempo is mostly mid to fast paced, even when the fastest parts are crushing Fir Bolg doesn't lose control. There are many fast breaks, sometimes almost death metal kind, and a huge effect of melodic thrash metal, that comes evident if you pay attention to all those guitar riffs and bass lines. To be honest, Dagoth must have learnt from before mentioned masters Immortal, just listen how similar to them is everything in "Blood Heritage", just to name one, even the sound and vocals are not far away from Abbaths. Still Fir Bolg has its own note.
Dagoths love towards celtic music and folk elements comes evident in many acoustic breaks, for example in "Banshees" where it gives some necessary air, though, also some of the fastest parts have kind of celtic vibe embeded and this gives certain epic scent to most of the songs. Most of the album is pretty intense, here and there we can witness to some not so well chosen guitar leads, like in "Final Battle On The Frozen Lake", but fortunately it doesn't ruin the overall picture that much.
Epic "Mag Tuired" surprise with its almost doomy beats and some French spoken words at the beginning, but it soon transforms into a raging black/thrash assault, yet with very catchy melodic refrain. The main song where everything comes in place must be the last one "Dun Aengus", here great atmosphere is achived and with many tempo changes this track is also the most interesting one. Even some elements that smell of progressivenes can be found in it.
The final impression about Towards Ancestral Lands is quite positive. This album can seduce with its atmospheres, songs about ancient legends and mythological thematics give the right basis to the music. Although the fact that somewhere in the middle it can become a bit predictable and perennial, it's a good debut. Fir Bolg could have done things a bit more dynamic with compositions that wouldn't reveal everything in the first minute of the song, but rather develop more gradually. Nevertheless it's interesting to hear after quite some time a French band that doesn't sound French at all, if this is a plus I'm not the one to judge. I can certainly suggest this album to all those who like before mentioned legends Immortal and similar artists, as well to all those into viking, pagan and celtic kinds of metal.
Review written by: T.V.