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Mael Mórdha : Damned When Dead

Mael Mordha's Irish folk elements have been toned down somewhat in comparison to their previous works.

Mael Mordha have been plowing their furrow of epic folk-tinged Doom Metal since 1998 and 'Damned When Dead' is their fourth release and probably their best so far. Now signed to Candlelight Records it's quite possible the Irish band may begin to get some of the attention they deserve (Note by the admin: they were previously part of the Grau records roster).

Of course, there is a long shadow cast over Mael Mordha. That shadow is Primordial and it is impossible to get away from. This is not a problem for me personally but it has to be said that during the course of this album their compatriots will spring to mind quite often. In comparison to 2010's 'Manannán' the first thing that struck me was the change in production. There is a greater depth to the sound, a heavier feel and the epic elements have been turned up to eleven. Firing the first salvo, 'Laudabilities' is built on widescreen riffs and thunderous drumming; echoes of 'Hammerheart'-era Bathory are present. This sets the tone for the rest of the album. Special mention to go to Shane Cahill's stellar double bass drum work and to Roibéard Ó Bogail's vocals which are full of drama and power.

Much has been said about Mael Mordha's Irish folk elements and on this occasion they have been toned down somewhat in comparison to their previous works. There is still the odd tin whistle or pipe which adds some colour without becoming in any sense a gimmick. If there is a criticism, it is that the album is lacking memorable curveballs and can feel a bit one-paced at some points, especially in the last third: tracks have a tendency to blend into one another and a couple of the longer pieces don't quite warrant their length.

In short, this album should appeal to those of an epic Doom persuasion and quite certainly to fans of Primordial. A killer production with thunderous and rousing delivery, 'Damned When Dead' is a good album but I can't help thinking with a little more variety and a little pruning it could have been a great one.

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Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Laudabiliter
2. King of the English
3. Dawning of the Grey
4. All Éire Will Quake
5. Bloody Alice (of Abergavenny)
6. The Sacking of the Vedrafjord
7. A Dirge
8. Damned When Dead

Duration : Approx: 47 minutes

Visit the Mael Mórdha bandpage.

Reviewed on 2013-10-09 by Lee Threlfall
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