Cruachan is a folk metal band from Dublin, Ireland that has been active since the 1990s. They have been acclaimed as having "gone the greatest lengths of anyone in their attempts to expand" the genre of folk metal. They are recognised as one of the founders of the genre of folk metal. With a specific focus on Celtic music and the use of Celtic mythology in their lyrics, Cruachan's style of folk metal is known as Celtic metal. The band named themselves after the archaeological site of Rathcroghan in Ireland also known as Cruachan.
|Genres||Folk metal, Celtic metal, black metal|
|Years active||1992–1997, 1999–present|
Nazgul's Eyrie Productions
|Members||Keith Fay |
Keith Fay had formed a Tolkien-inspired black metal band by the name of Minas Tirith in 1991. Around the same time, he began listening to more folk music and picked up Skyclad debut album The Wayward Sons of Mother Earth. Originally released in 1990, this "ambitious" and "groundbreaking" album made an impact on Fay and he set out to combine black metal with the folk music of Ireland. In 1992, Keith Fay formed Cruachan with a demo recording distributed in 1993. Keith Fay also credits the Irish rock band Horslips as a "huge influence on Cruachan," further noting that "what they were doing in the 70's is the equivalent of what we do now."
The year 1995 saw the release of Cruachan's debut album Tuatha na Gael, an album that "suffered under poor production." On the strength of this album, the band received attention from Century Media Records. The band found it amazing to receive interest from "such a big label" but were dismayed at the terms and conditions of the offered recording deal. They refused to sign a "very poor contract" that would have given the record label "the rights to change every aspect of our music." After "lengthy negotiations failed to yield a deal with Century Media Records", the band disbanded in 1997.
Cruachan reformed in January 1999 and after signing a recording deal with Hammerheart Records, they released the second album The Middle Kingdom in 2000. By this time, the band had dropped the black metal style in favor of a more traditional metal sound. They also expanded the roster by inviting guest vocalist Karen Gilligan to be a full-fledged member of the group. Their subsequent album Folk-Lore was co-produced by Shane MacGowan of The Pogues fame. Shane MacGowan also contributed vocals to two covers of traditional Irish songs, "Spancill Hill" and "Ride On." The latter was released as a single and the band experienced a small taste of commercial success when it entered the Irish charts.
The band released their fourth studio album Pagan in 2004 with cover artwork by John Howe. The production on the album was subsequently criticized by frontman Keith Fay as "terrible". In 2005, the band parted ways with their label Karmageddon Media "on good terms." For the band's fifth album, Cruachan returned to the same Sun Studios where they had recorded their first three albums. The result was The Morrigan's Call, an effort that Keith Fay described as their "best work to date, in every aspect." The album was released in November 2006 through AFM Records. Drummer Joe Farrell left the band shortly thereafter due to "personal reasons" and was replaced by Colin Purcell.
A further line-up change occurred in December 2008, as vocalist Karen Gilligan left the band "on good terms for various reasons." Keith Fay announced that he "will take over full-time vocal duties while John Ryan and John O' Fathaigh will take on backing vocal roles."
A demo was recorded in 2010 which showed the band's return to a much harder more black metal influenced style. This demo was sent to specific record labels only and Candlelight Records UK signed them in June 2010. "Blood on the Black Robe", the first of the "Trilogy of Blood" albums was released in 2011.
On the morning of 20 February 2011, Keith Fay was brutally assaulted by about 15 men after leaving a nightclub in Dublin. Fay survived the attack with a broken rib, a knife-wound, and extensive bruising.
2014 saw Cruachan leave Candlelight Records and sign with the dedicated folk and pagan metal record label, Trollzorn Records. This has also been the busiest year of the band's career with very high-profile shows including a tour of Russia in March. Headline shows in Germany, Ireland, Ukraine and Israel, as well as appearances at Ostrov festival (Russia), Bandershtat festival (Ukraine), HoernerFest (Germany), Brutal Assault (Czech Rep.), Rock for Roots (Germany), Halloween Fest (Italy) and Eindhoven Metal Meeting (The Netherlands). In between these shows they have been recording their next studio album. This album is titled "Blood for the Blood God" and is scheduled for a December 2014 release. Due to these recording commitments they had to turn down a place on Paganfest USA 2014.
John Fay announced his departure from Cruachan on 24 June 2016. This marks his second departure from Cruachan, he left Cruachan after the "FolkLore" album and appeared on albums "Pagan" and "The Morrigan's Call" in a guest musician capacity.
- Tuatha na Gael (1995)
- The Middle Kingdom (2000)
- Folk-Lore (2002)
- Pagan (2004)
- The Morrigan's Call (2006)
- Blood on the Black Robe (2011)
- Blood for the Blood God (2014)
- Nine Years of Blood (2018)
- "Ride On" (2001)
- "The Very Wild Rover" (2006)
- Celtica (Demo, 1994)
- Promo '97 (Demo, 1997, also included with 2001 bootleg of Tuatha na Gael)
- Untitled (Demo, 2010, led to new record deal with Candlelight records)
- A Celtic Trilogy (2002 boxed set of Tuatha na Gael, The Middle Kingdom and Folk-Lore in picture LP format, limited to 500 copies)
- A Celtic Legacy (2007)
- Keith Fay – vocals, guitars, keyboards, bodhrán, mandolin, percussion, bouzouki (1992–Present)
- John Ryan – violin, banjo, bouzouki (2004–Present)
- Kieran Ball – guitar (2012–Present)
- Mauro Frison – drums, percussion (2012–Present)
- Rustam Shakirzianov - bass (2018-Present)
- John (O'Fathaigh) Fay – tin whistles (1992–2002, 2005–2016)
- John Clohessy – bass (1992–2012)
- Karen Gilligan – vocals, percussion (1999–2008)
- Joe Farrell – drums (1999–2009)
- Colin Purcell – drums, percussion
- Jay Brennan
- Collette Uí Fathaigh – keyboards
- Leon Bias – guitars, mandolin, bouzouki
- Aisling Hanrahan
- Joanne Gregg
- Steven Anderson
- Darryl Conlan
- Jay O'Neill – drums, percussion
- Steven Coleman
- Paul Kearns
- Edward Gilbert
- Eric Fletcher – bass (2012–2018)
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- "CRUACHAN Announce Album-Launch Celebration". Blabbermouth.net. 10 March 2004. Archived from the original on 21 April 2006. Retrieved 13 December 2008.
- "CRUACHAN Frontman Explains Russian Concert Cancellations". Blabbermouth.net. 12 November 2006. Archived from the original on 8 February 2013. Retrieved 13 December 2008.
- "CRUACHAN Part Ways With KARMAGEDDON MEDIA – May 27, 2005". Blabbermouth.net. 27 May 2005. Archived from the original on 28 June 2005. Retrieved 13 December 2008.
- "CRUACHAN Prepare To Record New Album". Blabbermouth.net. 10 January 2006. Archived from the original on 29 May 2012. Retrieved 13 December 2008.
- "CRUACHAN Confirmed For Belgium's NEPHEREX FEST II". Blabbermouth.net. 8 January 2008. Archived from the original on 25 June 2008. Retrieved 13 December 2008.
- "CRUACHAN Parts Ways With Drummer, Announces Replacement". Blabbermouth.net. 16 January 2007. Archived from the original on 4 June 2012. Retrieved 13 December 2008.
- "Female Singer KAREN GILLIGAN Quits Ireland's CRUACHAN". Blabbermouth.net. 7 December 2008. Archived from the original on 8 December 2008. Retrieved 13 December 2008.
- "CRUACHAN Frontman 'Savagely Attacked' In Dublin". Blabbermouth.net. 4 March 2011. Archived from the original on 18 September 2012. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
- Cruachan Facebook: "John Fay has called it a day with Cruachan and we wish him well for the future." (June 24th, 2016)