Hand of Kalliach – Samhainn
Release Date: 22/10/21
Running Time: 41:58
Review by Rick Eaglestone
Hand of Kalliach are a husband and wife two piece, playing a blend of melodic death metal with atmospheric Gaelic and Celtic influences, inspired by Scottish folk music.
Got that? Now there are a couple of things I want to get out of the way before getting to the “review” part. Firstly, they only put the band together 10 months ago, and secondly this is 100% going into my top 5 Album Of The Year list. So, what makes this album worthy of such initial praise?
Well, imagine going on social media and discovering an album that immediately connects with you – this is much my experience with my very recent discovery of Hand of Kalliach, via the K-MaNriffs account on twitter (https://twitter.com/KManriffs). It took me approximately 38 seconds of the first track, “Beneath Starlit Waters”, before I had pre-ordered the album, and bought the bands first EP “Shade Beyond”. Obviously at that point I turned everything else off and restarted the album so I could give it my full attention.
I love the initial calmness and melody of the opening track, ‘Beneath Silent Waters’, which slowly builds, with some wonderful basslines, before a huge pace change which still keeps the melody – this is a strong opening track.
‘Solas Nennach’ almost reverses the elements of the previous track, as it starts off really heavy. The dynamic of the pair is just a joy to listen to, and in parts reminds me of some of the Symphonic Metal I was obsessed with many decades ago. ‘Each Uisge’ is another strong offering, but the guitar on this is immense; the later part with solo’s is something I have listened to time, and time again.
‘Roil’, and the only single, ‘Cinders’, are up next, the latter being a great track to pick as a single, as it really encapsulates all the wonderful elements of the band perfectly. The haunting slower pace of ‘The Lull of Loch Uigeadail’ is very much needed to catch your breath, as (incidentally, my current phone ringtone) ‘Ascendant’ fires in with some heart pounding drums, and is full on from start to finish. This is easily my favourite track of the album, overall.
‘Oran na Tein-eigin’ is much like the previous track, but it’s as it if you’ve set the record player to 45rpm instead of 33! It’s super-fast!! Swirling winds and rain open ‘Trail of the Beithir -Nimh’, which really compliment the track, these two are by far the most aggressive tracks of the album, and are paired well together.
To close the album, the final track, ‘Return to Stone’, has some really melodic parts, which I just adored. The melody of Sophie and harshness of John linger off just the right amount for the next chapter. The album weaves perfectly between history, mythology and land/seascapes of the Scottish islands.
If you’re still on the fence still about checking this album out it’s worth noting that the first round of physical copies sold out at least two weeks before the official release, there is a repress, but you had better be quick. Also, the album received over 1000 streams on release day. Definitely not to be sniffed at!
01. Beneath Silent Waters
02. Solas Neonach
03. Each Uisge
06. The Lull of Loch Uigeadial
08. Oran na Teine-eigin
09. Trail of the Beithir-nimh
10. Return to Stone
John Fraser – vocals, guitars, and drums
Sophie Fraser – vocals and bass
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rick Eaglestone and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.