Gae Bolg and the Church of Fand – John Barleycorn must die

Mastermind behind the band is Eric Roger, who plays the trumpet on various release by Tony Wakeford and co. The bandname by the way is derived from Celtic mythology, hero Cuchulain owned the legendary spear “Gae Bolg” and “Fand” was one of his lovers. The album is issued by the small French label Cynfeirdd, the lyrics are also in French. I first heard about this project through their powerful track “Gloria” on the limited sampler Eisteddfod, released by the same label.

Off to the music then. The first instrumental track reminds me a lot of Sopor Aeternus, through its obscure atmosphere and the use of flutes, bells and trumpets. The second song, “La Marche des Morts” is the absolute highlight for me, bombastic, powerful drumming, triomphant trumpets and medieval chanting towards the end. Most of the other tracks follow this pattern, containing militaristic drums and medieval and classical elements. This project with the odd name has delivered a very strong album.

artist: Gae Bolg and the Church of Fand
label: Cynfeirdd
details: 8 tracks, digipack, limited to 909 copies