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The Irish band Cruachan has been one of my favorites for a long time. They've been making music for twenty years now. The line-up hasn't been always stable and they often switch labels, but their music has always been good. And yet, I got some mixed feelings on this album. Let's hear what the guys have to say!


Well first off, we've read that your previous cd "The Morrigan's Call" was your best selling to date. That must feel good! So that's why we find it strange that the band is no longer with AFM!? How come (they must have done a good job?).
To be totally honest they done a great job in a lot of respects and I will never say anything bad about AFM but I felt their promotion could have been better. The cd seemed  to lack serious promotion and the fact that it is our best selling to date makes me wonder just how successful it could have been if properly promoted. I think we may have been left on the shelf a bit with AFM as they are focused very much in central Europe. We have fans everywhere and with this cd it was the first time I could not see it on sale in my local music store in Dublin.

Your singer Karen Gilligan called it quits after all these years (very sad indeed), why and did it come as a shock?
She left for many reasons. She really enjoyed being in Cruachan and touring but was never a real metal fan, although that was never really an issue. Her family life got more time consuming so she had to leave and settle down really, there is not much more to it than that. It was a bit of a shock at the time but also good for us because I have wanted to return to more extreme music with Cruachan for some time, you can hear this on The Morrigans Call, but with a full time female vocalist it was hard to do so Karens leaving the band also gave us a lot of freedom.

A comfort for those who mourn Karen's loss is that she is a guest on 3 songs! So she's till into Cruachan!
Yes she is and we hope to use her on future albums aswell if there are and female vocal parts.

Instead of replacing her you decided to go back to the roots of the band, which is cool but also a bit a surprising move knowing that the last cd was such a big seller? For everything will be a bit more brutal right? :) (although on the other hand it sounds like Cruachan right ;).
Well, the last cd was our most extreme release since our debut, Tuatha na Gael so our fans kind of knew were we were heading. I know we risk losing some fans with the new album and it is something that we have to accept and move on with, the hope is that we will also gain a lot of new fans in the process. Yes the new album is definitely a lot more extreme than previous releases but it is still Cruachan. We see the new album as a rebirth of the band in a lot of ways and hope to improve on this with our next release, also there will be no more huge gaps between releases.

How about the rest of the line-up? Stable for the moment?
Cruachan, a stable line up?? Never haha!!! Yes I guess we are ok for the time being although John Clohessy has a 4th child on the way and has hinted that he may move on, we hope he does not. Our violin player lives in Australia which can also be a pain the ass but we are managing.

Will you go out on the road to promote your new album again? How will you deal with the older songs that Karen sang live? Skip them or rearrange them?
Yes we are hoping to get on the road a lot more with "Blood on the black robe" although we cant tour too much as it all depends on our vacation days from our jobs. We will still play some of our more popular older songs and bring a guest vocalist with us on tour.

You are now signed to Candlelight, which is closer to home, is that one of the reasons for signing with them?
Not really, I don't think the location of the label is really important. Candlelight are a huge label with some of my favourite bands on their roster. When we recorded our demo in early 2010 we only sent it to 2 labels, Candlelight and Napalm Records as we feel we have more in common with the bands on these labels than almost any other. Edward at Candlelight could see the potential in our new material so offered us a deal pretty much straight away, to say that we almost snapped his hand off would be an understatement.

Is there a red line throughout the album or is it focuced on different kinda topics from the Celtic mythology?
We mainly sing about Celtic and Irish mythology but on this album there has been a bit of a departure on some of the songs. There are a lot of anti-christian songs, written from the point of view of ancient tribes and never Satanic in any way. We have also had sone about recent Irish history and this is true with the track The Column which is about the Irish involvement in the Spanish civil war.

We consider Cruachan as one of the founders of folkmetal. Lots of bands joined that club. How do you feel about that? And what do you think about certain of those bands?
We also consider ourselves as one of the founders and we feel we were the first real folk metal band, Skyclad who are the only band I can think of before us only had folk sounding parts in some of their songs. We had real folk music from the very start. I will be honest and say that I feel left out in a lot of ways, and I accept it is our own fault for changing styles dramatically after Tuatha na Gael and for leaving it for so long between our releases. We think that "Blood on the black robe" will bring us back into focus and make people realize what we have done and what we are still doing in this genre that we founded. I think a lot of bands now are just on a band wagon, they do not understand what folk music is but pad their songs with folk sounding parts, also the music has become too happy (something we have been guilty of doing also) so I wanted to make a more dark sounding folk metal, that is what we have done on the new album.

What's your favorite music style? More the black metal or are you more into folkmetal? Or perhaps a surprise?
My favourite musical style is still black metal but I listen to everything from Michal Jackon to Johnny Cash. Andrea Bocelli to No Doubt. I think it's a good thing to have an open mind, it is what helped me create Cruachan in the first place.

Anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Thank you all for your support over the years and please stay with us for the future, find us on facebook where most of the band chat every single day with fans (sad computer nerds in Cruachan)

Bart & Nico


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