Cnoc An Tursa's Epic Folk Metal Comes Straight Outta the Scottish Highlands

Stream the Scottish folk/black metal quartet's new album, 'The Forty Five,' which drops 2/17 via Apocalyptic Witchcraft
February 7, 2017, 3:55pm

The Scottish independence movement is as old as our modern idea of Scotland itself, and has been picking up steam as of late, its cause helped along by the uncertainties of a post-Brexit world. Just last month, Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon refused to shy away from the prospect of a second independence referendum, telling the Guardian, "If we're in a position where we've a UK prime minister saying no compromise Scotland just has to shut up and like it or lump it, then the question for Scotland—and it's a much more fundamental question than just the EU or Brexit—is are we happy with that?"

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It's an exceedingly complex political situation that I won't pretend to have an in-depth understanding of, but what I can safely say is that I'm pretty damn sure how the four members of Cnoc An Tursa will be voting if a new referendum does come to pass. The band's new album, The Forty Five, is based around the Jacobite Uprising in 1745, waged by Charles Edward Stuart (better known as Bonnie Prince Charlie) to wrest the British throne from George II.

Their take on folk metal is—as folk metal tends to be—geographically- and historically-based, focusing on pairing grandiose melodies and elegant black metal passages with their rainy homeland's bloody, embattled past. The band's black metal roots are on full display, but the result is far from raw. Cnoc An Tursa is A-okay with piling on a good bit of polish, and shades of the 90s (think Windir meets Emperor) are visible in their nastier moments. It's epic (and symphonic!) without leaning too heavily on pure bombast, and the jubilant, soaring Celtic-influenced folk melodies are sublime.

Listen to The Forty Five in full below, and look for the album from Apocalyptic Witchcraft on February 17.

Kim Kelly is sipping scotch on Twitter.