Dalriada - Forrás
Released 15th May 2016
Reviewed 8th January 2017 by Korpi
Listeners who don't care for folk metal sometimes think they can easily lump Dalriada into the ocean of mostly undifferentiated bands singing upbeat tunes about drinking, nature, and folklore; but Dalriada is in fact different. Originating from Hungary the band is in a prime location that has allowed it the unique opportunity to produce a sound that is clearly ethnically inspired metal but incorporate elements of more western Viking and eastern Slavic folk metal bands and their own blend of ethnic instruments; all culminating in a heavy and yet warm welcoming folk sound. Their 2016 pseudo-compilation Forrás changes things though. While stock Dalriada can still draw some attention from the larger metal community, Forrás is strictly acoustic folk/neofolk that will likely only appeal to the die-hard folk metal and Dalriada enthusiasts.
Forrás is in no way a bad album but it is unlikely to be winning any metal awards anytime soon. While I’m a huge fan of this album, the overall sound loses some of its impact when you remove the heavy guitar and somewhat rapid drumming. The superb folk instrumentation shines perhaps brighter than it ever has. The amazing vocals remain amazing but frequently overshadow the instrumentation, sometimes by song structure and other times by mixing choices. I'm left with the impression that all of these tracks sounded a bit sterile and would have been recorded better as a live performance. On top of this, the album still suffers from the same problem as almost all of Dalriada's releases, at 1 hour 6 minutes it's too long. The length is not necessarily the problem, but it would be much better released as a double album; that way one could listen to half of it, then come back and finish the other half later. No matter how great you're music is, if it goes on too long it can lose its impact.
Despite the minor complaints stemming from knowledge of their previous works if you look at Forrás in a bubble separate from Dalriada, you are left with some very high production quality folk/neofolk music. Additionally, this is an album that clearly had to happen at some point. Most Dalriada fans have been awaiting the day of an acoustic album by the band, and making it a pseudo-compilation album with some of their favorite tracks was a great choice. This album doesn’t disappoint in any tangible way, and for fans of Dalriada I expect it will be well received.