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MORRIGAN
MORRIGAN
Celts
(Horns Of Cernunos Productions)
66:58min

Let's just say it at once. Bathory! OK, now to the actual music. "Hammerheart"! In my book, Morrigan do the same for Bathory's "Hammerheart" as Warhammer did for Hellhammer's "Apocalyptic Raids". Even those normal vocals are so close. Morrigan speed up in between, but "Celts" is mostly a mid-paced Metal album. You can't avoid the obvious comparison to the mentioned Bathory album, but does "Celts" stand on its own? You can argue that this is a carbon copy of Bathory; thus you choose to avoid this as the plague. You can argue that you're kinda bored with the songs from "Hammerheart" as you've listened to the album for 13 years by now, but I'm sure that is an argument which can't be considered as serious. No matter how you look upon "Celts" and which arguments you're able to bring up, Morrigan are surely a tribute to Bathory as well as being extremely inspired by them. But at the same time I feel entertained by Morrigan's pounding Metal. In a strange way I go back in time and try to remember the impact Metal had on me 10-15 years ago. Morrigan do something for me, despite the fact that I don't really need their music. However, take a closer listen to 'Giants Of Stone' with its 8:32 minutes of Metal. Did I mention that the sound of "Celts" is rather similar to that of Bathory around the 90s? Well, it is and even the lack of tightness is charming on "Celts", just as we remembered and still keep in mind from "Hammerheart".

Roy Kristensen

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MORRIGAN
MORRIGAN
Celts
(Horns Of Cernunos Productions)
66:58min

Well, in one way I agree with Roy's opinion. You can't deny the fact that MORRIGAN would probably not exist if there wouldn't have been this certain "band" from Sweden... The Quorthon influence is simply too obvious! But then again - even though BATHORY have been the first to come up with this epic / Viking Metal style - it doesn't necessarily mean that they have to be considered the ultimate reference once and for all in that department. Of course MORRIGAN have to live with the criticism that they musically haven't really invented something new on their own. But hey, zillions of bands these days neither do that. And as long as they write their music straight from the heart they can still deliver great records, can't they? MORRIGAN's compositions are surely based on the BATHORY legacy, but they easily managed to develop a far more convincing result out of it already! Yes, I really did say "more convincing"! You know, I always prefered BATHORY's first four albums and never really got into their highly acclaimed "Hammerheart" / "Twilight Of The Gods" period, because of the simple fact that I couldn't really stand Quorthon's "new" vocal delivery right after "Blood Fire Death"! Plus several tracks of his epic period used to bore me to death for their obvious lack of variety. MORRIGAN are far more convincing in all those aspects! They have a killer vocalist, combine clean vocals with the harsh ones to spice up their material whenever the mood requests it. And they don't focus on one type of song / main riff exclusively and repeat it over and over again. Just take the grim 'Reappearance', 'Era Reiks Fomore', 'Cursing The Beheaded' or 'Bitchcraft', only four examples of totally grim songs that several old school "true" Black Metal acts would be really proud of! MORRIGAN's material simply is the ultimate soundtrack for a battle movie in the old Conan The Barbarian manner. Heavy parts go hand in hand with hymnic elements and aggression with great melody lines. The whole album has got this great dramatic feel to it that doesn't let you go until the very last seconds of the outro. If Quorthon would still come up with this superior quality, I would probably agree to Roy's review. But he doesn't, so all hail to MORRIGAN! All further info you may find here: www.morrigan.org

Frank Stöver

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MORRIGAN
MORRIGAN
Celts
(Undercover Records)
72:58min

"Celts", the third MORRIGAN full-length album, originally used to be a self-financed release by the band itself and therefore probably didn't reach as many people as it deserved. So, it's great to see that Undercover Records is giving it a second chance now with this re-release. I don't think we'll have to talk about the musical side of it once again (as we already did that very detailed in the original review back then), so let's instead focus on the little differences here. The whole packaging got changed for the better (it was done a lot more professional), yet should already look familiar to all those of you who used to buy the limited double vinyl gatefold LP version on Black Ace Records at the time... This CD re-issue is completely based on that now (the black cover with the celtic shield and stuff). As a bonus you'll furthermore get some of the album's lyrics and the song 'Dead Forever', MORRIGAN's 2004 contribution to their split 7"EP with nocternity. Musically the song is along the same lines as all of the other MORRIGAN material, just a bit more rough sounding in the production. A nice little extra for all CD only collectors (like myself) to finally call their MORRIGAN collection complete now. Needless to say that just like any other MORRIGAN release, also "Celts" is an essential purchase for any fan of classic BATHORY in their prime! And if you missed out on it in its original form, you should definitely make sure to go for it now. Websites of interest: www.morrigan.org or www.undercover-records.de

Frank Stöver

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