Review: Scáthanna - Riders of the Sidhe (2008)


artist: Scáthanna
release: Riders of the Sidhe
format: CD-R
year of release: 2008
label: Self-released
dur­a­tion: 15:32

Scáthanna is a young Irish neo­folk pro­ject by a man called Mar­cus Mac­Cor­maic. Riders of the Sidhe is the first demo, and we get four nice instru­mental neo­folk tunes with, obvi­ously, a Celtic touch. Styl­ist­ic­ally, it is quite close to the tra­di­tion that has sprung up around pro­jects like Ulver and Empyrium (to name the two stand­ard cases), but it sounds slightly more ori­ginal than most pro­jects in this area.

The demo starts with “Samildán­ach”, a short uptempo track with an uplift­ing gui­tar melody and bodhrán per­cus­sion. Soon a tin whistle joins in to sup­port the melody, but it doesn’t sound quite right yet. I reg­u­larly hear whistles and flutes that sound a bit off from the rest of the instru­ments in vari­ous live set­tings and such, and this demo is no dif­fer­ent, sadly. I guess it can be dif­fi­cult to pull off? In any case, it’s not very dis­turb­ing, but cer­tainly a point that could be improved. The other tracks basic­ally have a sim­ilar com­pos­i­tion. The title track starts off a bit more calmly, but also fea­tures more lively parts. The third track is the longest, and has an inter­play between a couple of dif­fer­ent melod­ies and rhythms. The final track, “The March of Lám­hf­hada” ends the demo with an epic melody, recall­ing heroic tales from Celtic her­it­age.

On the whole, while per­form­ance and sound are indeed at a real demo level, there’s cer­tainly quite some poten­tial in this pro­ject. I enjoy a bit of the Celtic touch in a musical area often dom­in­ated by Germanic-themed pro­jects, as doesn’t only add a new con­cep­tual ele­ment, but also a dif­fer­ent sound. I also get the feel­ing that Scáthanna might bene­fit from adding a vocal touch - why not? In any case, this is an atmo­spheric demo that is worth check­ing out if you enjoy fol­low­ing the latest devel­op­ments in neo­folk.

Reviewed by O.S.

Track­list:

1. Samildán­ach (1:47)
2. Riders of the Sidhe (3:53)
3. The Flowers of Carn Corrslebe (7:11)
4. The March of Lám­hf­hada (2:41)

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