Tuatha de Danann - Trova di danu 4.5/5

Reviewed: 3-30-07


1. Bella natura
2. Lover of the queen
3. Land of youth
4. The danann's voice
5. The land's revenge
6. Spellboundance
7. Believe, it's true!
8. The arrival
9. Oghma's rheel
10. Trova di danu
11. The wheel

Tuatha de Danann are a band that weren't even on my radar until recently, but this CD, 'Trova di danu' is apparently the Brazilian collective's 4th, and a highly impressive one at that. They occupy the celtic niche in the increasingly sprawling folk metal genre, but display a striking variety in their approach, with several different styles incorporated throughout.

For the most part the music is remarkably happy-sounding, due in no small part to the style of main vocalist Bruno Maia who is something of an Andre Matos sound-a-like, singing in a very soft, melodic style that greatly compliments the flutes and whistles used on the lighter songs of the CD to create what is basically the sunniest metal you are ever likely to hear.

The tremendous variety on display, though, means the music will only become too flowery for the most ardent of listeners. With vocal contributions from other band members that vary from Elvenking-style gang shouting through demented-sounding drunk goblin vocals to pseudo-black metal growls as the CD takes a darker turn towards its conclusion, the music is never in danger of becoming too sugary, with every gentle acoustic moment mirrored by a nice, thick riff.

There is also a distinct progressive flavour to many of the songs, with a variety of unexpected changes to time signatures and riffs happening throughout the songs, and keyboard player Edgard Britto sometimes seeming to forget that he plays in a folk metal band as his instrument hisses and squeals in the background. It's nothing mind-bending, but it adds to the disjointed and slightly manic atmosphere of the CD and ensures there is never a dull moment - 'Trova di danu' is one of those releases that seems to fly through its running time.

The songs all seem composed with a specific goal in mind rather than having an acoustic break or choir section dropped into every track, there is a different approach taken to each. Some will feature prominent flutes and whistles; others are based on choir choruses, and for those that drop all the metal out of the equation for acoustic and fiddle-led celtic folk, there are those where the melodic vocals are abandoned completely for something harsher.

It is this care given to the songwriting, coupled with the exceptional performances of the musicians and vocalists and the slightly quirky and surreal tone that permeates the entire CD that sets Tuatha de Danann well ahead of some of the more paint-by-numbers folk metal bands that have been cropping up of late. Despite its experimental nature, 'Trova di danu' is one of the best examples of the style I have heard. Seeking it out is mandatory for fans of the genre.




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