Hand of Kalliach – Samhainn Review

There are days when to review an album is something that gets something really tough due to the hard to get atmosphere the band bribgs the reviewer. When a band as diverse and intense and with a miriad of influences like Hand of Kalliach arrives is always a pleasure surprise. “Samhainn” gets the fan by the balls and by the heart with all the influences got together in this boiling cauldron of Metal music with some touches of pop – not in the bad name I have to say.

It’s such a strange feeling the fan gets while listening to “Samhainn” for the first time. While listening to a track as “Ascendant” the fan may wonder whether pop is now using some kind of gutural voices due to the uncanny combination of pop elements with Extreme Metal. I don’t really mean the common pop music, but that kind of pop that was common in the 1990s. Something like alternative. The guitars sound as if they were synthetized or something in the way. Sophie Fraser’s voice gives the fan this impression contrasting to the harsh vocals done by John Fraser. Then, a quick look at the press release makes it all make a kind of sense as it says that Hand of Kalliach are an Atmospheric Celtic Metal. Well, following track “Beneath Starlit Waters” does make more sense into this new labeling as the band starts to mix new elements that fit the aforementioned labeling. However, as more Metal elements get inside the melting pot of the band, pop elements never go away. Instead they are present in all tracks in one way or another. Besides the use of Gaelic in some passages of the album brings a certain charm.

It takes a while to the fan understands what happens in “Samhainn.” It took me some and I’m experienced. It’s an album of a difficult digestion and comprehension if the fan doesn’t like pop elements. I have to say that my first impression wasn’t of disdain but of impression. As my dear fan knows I accept some kind of pop influence in the bands I review. Of course, not too much. In moderate way it’s healthy. Hand of Kalliach manage this pretty well. In “Samhainn” pop influences are to spice it up and it works fine the way I see it. The contrasts the band create are really appreciated.

Hand of Kalliach “Samhainn” was released on October 22nd.

Track Listing:

  1. Beneath Starlit Waters
  2. Solas Neònach
  3. Each Uisge
  4. Roil
  5. Cinders
  6. The Lull Of Loch Uigeadail
  7. Ascendant
  8. Òran Na Tein’-éigin
  9. Trial of the Beithir-Nimh
  10. Return to Stone

Watch “Beneath Starlit Waters” official video here: