Triddana - Ripe for rebellion 3.5/5
1. The beginning
2. The wicked wheel (Rage on)
3. The dead end verse
4. Reaper's lullaby
5. Spoke the firefly (Fate called)
6. All souls night
7. Gone with the river
8. Paddy's leather breeches set
9. Born in the dark age
10. Men of clay
11. Faking a war
12. Flames at twilight
Everything seemed to be going so well for Skiltron, with a run of the 3 great CDs of celtic folk-infused power metal under their sporrans, when all of a sudden things seemed to completely implode with the entire line-up other than founder Matias Pena and Emilio Souto abandoning ship. While no official account of the parting has been offered, the old ‘musical differences’ fallback certainly won’t be able to get wheeled out with any justification.
While Pena and Souto have been keeping themselves occupied playing various shows in Britain with Martin Walkyier (including the most bizarre gig I’ve ever witnessed, playing to a room full of baffled pensioners there to celebrate Wallace Day at a village hall), the 4 departed members have swiftly regrouped as Triddana and debuted with a CD that carries on in almost exactly the same vein as their former band.
Superficially, ‘Ripe for rebellion’ is virtually identical to the Scottish-themed output of Skiltron, with the contributions of lion-lunged frontman Diego Valdez and piper Pablo Allen key to this, but with guitarist Juan José Fornes’s continued double duty as producer no doubt ensuring as smooth a transition as possible.
Yet while the melodies and lyrics remain as familiar as ever (with a little bit of Irish thrown in to the mix too this time), a little digging below the surface will reveal that Triddana are in some respects a different proposition altogether. What I always felt made Skiltron a bit special among folk metal bands was that their riffing style was more in line with a speed metal band, and sadly this is one aspect that has dropped away almost entirely.
Not that Triddana are exactly slow pokes, but the bludgeoning Germanic aggression that gave Skiltron such an added snarl is largely conspicuous only in its absence. A couple of hairy moments of choppy, almost Gothenberg-ish, riffing appear under a few verses – most notably on “The dead end verse” - but for the most part there is generally an agreeably traditional underpinning to the blaring bagpipes.
Triddana are, after all, their own band and it wouldn’t be fair to hold them up entirely against Skilron’s standards despite the general continuation in presentation. In fact, the most consistent and in many ways enjoyable section of the CD is a run of songs in the middle that focus more on atmosphere and emotion than on heaviness or speed.
The fairly faithful rendition of Loreena McKennitt’s “All souls night” and then “Gone with the river” weave soothing themes of pastoral celtic beauty while “Born in the dark age” is a sorrowful ballad that shows off the lesser-heard gentler side ot Valdez’s rasping, Dio-esque voice.
Things pick up again nicely though right at the death with “Faking a war”, probably the most Skiltron-like song of the lot, riding a real thundering gallop and seeing things out with a powerful bang before a nice acoustic outro rounds things off.
It remains to be seen at this juncture where Souto and Pena will go from here with Skiltron, but it is pleasing to hear the splinter faction carrying on their old outfit’s traditions in such an authentic way. It may not quite match the best of the work the assembled musicians have contributed to in the past, but its hard to imagine any of their existing fans being disappointed with this.
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