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Cnoc An tursa is a Scottish pagan metal, or extreme folk metal, band from Falkirk.
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CNOC AN TURSA Discography

CNOC AN TURSA albums / top albums

CNOC AN TURSA The Giants of Auld album cover 3.69 | 3 ratings
The Giants of Auld
Folk Metal 2013
CNOC AN TURSA The Forty Five album cover 4.25 | 4 ratings
The Forty Five
Pagan Black Metal 2017

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CNOC AN TURSA The Giants of Auld

Album · 2013 · Folk Metal
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Pagan metal has a reputation as a fairly silly genre among most metalheads, but every now and again a great band pops up to prove that there's more to the genre than just imagery and instrumentation gimmicks. Enter Cnoc An Tursa, a relatively new band from Scotland that blends black and folk metal together for their debut observation, 2013's The Giants of Auld. Unlike most bands labeled as pagan metal, Cnoc An Tursa's focus is much more on the 'metal' side of the equation than the 'pagan' side, as guitars are always dominant in the mix and the folk elements are fairly subtle. The Giants of Auld does a fantastic job adding folk-inspired melodies and atmospheric keyboard work to epic, melancholic black metal without ever detracting from the lethal metal energy. The result is an album that still ticks all of the pagan metal boxes, but sounds substantially less cheesy than many other bands in the genre.

The Giants of Auld is a triumphant debut in nearly every way, but I do have to mention that the metalcore-styled vocals are a minor blemish on the overall experience. Although they don't cripple the album, they are by far the weakest link in Cnoc An Tursa's sound - I can only imagine how much better this album might be with obscure howls and shrieks, but this is more of a personal gripe than an actual fault of the album. The bottom line is that The Giants of Auld is still one of 2013's best debuts, and anyone with a liking towards atmospheric, epic, and folk-inspired black metal deserves to check it out.

CNOC AN TURSA The Giants of Auld

Album · 2013 · Folk Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Time Signature
The lions of Scotland...

Genre: extreme folk metal

Cnoc An Tursa is a Scottish so-called pagan metal band. To be honest, I generally think that so-called pagan metal is ridiculous, but every now and then I come across a band within this genre, who proves to me that so-called pagan metal does not have to suck per se. And Cnoc An Tursa is one such band.

Their combination of extreme metal and folk elements is perfectly balanced, and one of their main fortés is that they make virtually no use of folk instrumentation, meaning that the folk melodies are performed on the traditional rock instrumentation. One of my pet peeves when it comes to folk metal is that the rock instrumentation often takes the backseat, simply providing power chords while the folk instruments perform the folk melodies. But not on this album. Cnoc An Tursa let the guitars do the talking. They use keyboards, and some melodies are performed on the keyboards, but they only serve to enhance the music, not to drive it. Cnoc An tursa make considerable us of black metal aesthetics, which goes perfectly together with the Celtic side of their music. In a way, they are alike an extreme metal version of Slough Feg.

In terms of musicianship, the four Scots know their way around their instruments, and their specific approach to so-called pagan metal allows them to actually show that. The only thing I do not really like are the harsh vocals, which are a bit on the metalcore side.

Other than that, The Giants of Auld is a very well put together album, and fans of Primordial in particular should be very likely to dig Cnoc An Tursa, too.

(review originally posted at

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