You know what I really like about folk metal albums? I really dig those godawful intro tracks that have an out of time, out of tune fiddle that sounds like a cat in a wood lathe. What makes them even better is old man drunken singing, it really sells your album from the off. And it’s quite puzzling, because when Hajdutanc starts, you realise that Dalriada are actually quite brilliant.
Hailing from Hungary, Dalriada are content to sing in their mother tongue, so I’m just content to assume it’s about distilling industrial strength poteens from turnips. The immediate major strength of Ígéret is the absolutely flawless grasp on vocal melody. While other ‘folk’ metal bands write metal songs and incorporate folk elements, Dalriada have spun this on it’s head; Ígéret is full of traditional sounding folk songs that have been given a metal coat. The female vocal that is the core of the vocal is exceptionally strong, and many parts of Ígéret feel like a collection of Eastern European folk songs. At points this can be a fault, parts of the folkier songs are so twee it sounds like a gimmicky Eurovision entry.
Folk songs traditionally have a part where everyone can sing along. Igazi Tüz follows the same vocal melody, building up to a raucous final chorus, while Leszek A Hold is a woeful campfire dirge of gang vocals, until the more aggressive vocals come in, which is what Dalriada could do with dropping; Ígéret has more than enough merits of it’s own without over-egging itself with the clean/growl trick that the majority of folk metal bands do. Having said that, credit due that it is the clean female lead that takes massive precedence over any attempt to blend in with the big boys.
Ígéret is definitely a grower, but it certainly won’t be the album that gets you into the folkier side of metal. That said, Dalriada have an addictive sound cemented in melancholic folk melody, and if anyone can tell me what the final solo instrument is on Hozd el, Isten, they win…turnip juice. The kind that eats through steel.