Cruachan (band)

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For the ancient capital of Connachta in Ireland, see Rathcroghan.
Cruachan at Global East Rock Festival 2010 (1).jpg
Cruachan playing at Global East Rock Festival 2010
Background information
Origin Dublin, Ireland
Genres Celtic metal, black metal
Years active 1992–1997, 1999–present
Labels Candlelight
Karmageddon Media
Nazgul's Eyrie Productions
Members Keith Fay
John O' Fathaigh
John Ryan
Eric Fletcher
Mauro Frison
Kieran Ball

Cruachan is a Celtic metal band from Dublin, Ireland that has been active since the 1990s. They have been acclaimed as having "gone the greatest lengths of anyone in their attempts to expand" the genre of folk metal.[1] They are recognised as one of the founders of the genre of folk metal. With a specific focus on Celtic music and the use of Celtic mythology in their lyrics, Cruachan's style of folk metal is known as Celtic metal.[2] The band named themselves after the archaeological site of Rathcroghan in Ireland also known as Cruachan.


Keith Fay had formed a Tolkien-inspired black metal band by the name of Minas Tirith in 1991.[3] Around the same time, he began listening to more folk music and picked up Skyclad debut album The Wayward Sons of Mother Earth. Originally released in 1990, this "ambitious" and "groundbreaking" album[4] made an impact on Fay and he set out to combine black metal with the folk music of Ireland.[3] In 1992, Keith Fay formed Cruachan with a demo recording distributed in 1993.[5] Keith Fay also credits the Irish rock band Horslips as a "huge influence on Cruachan," further noting that "what they were doing in the 70's is the equivalent of what we do now."[3]

Cruachan playing at Global East Rock Festival 2010

The year 1995 saw the release of Cruachan debut album Tuatha na Gael, an album that "suffered under poor production."[6] On the strength of this album, the band received attention from Century Media Records. The band found it amazing to receive interest from "such a big label" but were dismayed at the terms and conditions of the offered recording deal.[7] They refused to sign a "very poor contract" that would have given the record label "the rights to change every aspect of our music."[6] After "lengthy negotiations failed to yield a deal with Century Media Records",[1] the band disbanded in 1997.[5]

Cruachan reformed in January 1999[5] and after signing a recording deal with Hammerheart Records, they released the second album The Middle Kingdom in 2000.[7] By this time, the band had dropped the black metal style in favor of a more traditional metal sound.[6] They also expanded the roster by inviting guest vocalist Karen Gilligan to be a full-fledged member of the group.[7] Their subsequent album Folk-Lore was co-produced by Shane McGowan of The Pogues fame.[8] Shane McGowan also contributed vocals to two covers of traditional Irish songs, "Spancill Hill" and "Ride On."[7] The latter was released as a single and the band experienced a small taste of commercial success when it entered the Irish charts.[9]

Cruachan playing at Global East Rock Festival 2010

The band released their fourth studio album Pagan in 2004 with cover artwork by John Howe.[10] The production on the album was subsequently criticized by frontman Keith Fay as "terrible".[11] In 2005, the band parted ways with their label Karmageddon Media "on good terms."[12] For the band's fifth album, Cruachan returned to the same Sun Studios where they had recorded their first three albums.[13] The result was The Morrigan's Call, an effort that Keith Fay described as their "best work to date, in every aspect."[11] The album was released in November 2006 through AFM Records.[14] Drummer Joe Farrell left the band shortly thereafter due to "personal reasons" and was replaced by Colin Purcell.[15]

A further line-up change occurred in December 2008, as vocalist Karen Gilligan left the band "on good terms for various reasons."[16] Keith Fay announced that he "will take over full-time vocal duties while John Ryan and John O' Fathaigh will take on backing vocal roles."

Cruachan playing at Global East Rock Festival 2010

A demo was recorded in 2010 which showed the band's return to a much harder more black metal influenced style. This demo was sent to specific record labels only and Candlelight Records UK signed them in June 2010. Their next album was released in 2011.

On the morning of 20 February 2011, Keith Fay was brutally assaulted by about 15 men after leaving a nightclub in Dublin. Fay survived the attack with a broken rib, a knife-wound, and extensive bruising.[17]

2014 saw Cruachan leave Candlelight Records and sign with the dedicated folk and pagan metal record label, Trollzorn Records. Their next studio album is titled "Blood for the Blood God" and is scheduled for a December 2014 release.


Studio albums[edit]


  • "Ride On" (2001)
  • "The Very Wild Rover" (2006)


  • Celtica (Demo, 1994)
  • Promo '97 (Demo, 1997, also included with 2001 bootleg of Tuatha na Gael)
  • Untitled (Demo, 2010, led to new record deal with Candlelight records)


  • A Celtic Trilogy (2002 boxed set of Tuatha na Gael, The Middle Kingdom and Folk-Lore in picture LP format, limited to 500 copies)
  • A Celtic Legacy (2007)


Current members[edit]

Past members[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Rivadavia, Eduardo. "AMG Cruachan". Retrieved 21 March 2008. 
  2. ^ Bowar, Chad. "What Is Heavy Metal?". Retrieved 21 March 2008. 
  3. ^ a b c Bolther, Giancarlo. "Interview with Keith Fay of Cruachan". Retrieved 21 March 2008. 
  4. ^ Rivadavia, Eduardo. "AMG The Wayward Sons of Mother Earth Review". Retrieved 21 March 2008. 
  5. ^ a b c Sharpe-Young, Garry. "MusicMight Cruachan Biography". Retrieved 21 March 2008. 
  6. ^ a b c Palmares, Pedro. "Interview with Keith Fay of Cruachan". Retrieved 21 March 2008. 
  7. ^ a b c d Vonberg, Horst. "Interview with Keith Fay of Cruachan". Retrieved 21 March 2008. 
  8. ^ Stefanis, John. "Interview with Keith Fay of Cruachan". Retrieved 21 February 2008. 
  9. ^ Eldefors, Vincent. "Interview with Keith Fay of Cruachan". Retrieved 21 March 2008. 
  10. ^ "CRUACHAN Announce Album-Launch Celebration". 2004-03-10. Retrieved 2008-12-13. 
  11. ^ a b "CRUACHAN Frontman Explains Russian Concert Cancellations". 2006-11-12. Retrieved 2008-12-13. 
  12. ^ "CRUACHAN Part Ways With KARMAGEDDON MEDIA - May 27, 2005". 2005-05-27. Retrieved 2008-12-13. 
  13. ^ "CRUACHAN Prepare To Record New Album". 2006-01-10. Retrieved 2008-12-13. 
  14. ^ "CRUACHAN Confirmed For Belgium's NEPHEREX FEST II". 2008-01-08. Retrieved 2008-12-13. 
  15. ^ "CRUACHAN Parts Ways With Drummer, Announces Replacement". 2007-01-16. Retrieved 2008-12-13. 
  16. ^ "Female Singer KAREN GILLIGAN Quits Ireland's CRUACHAN". 2008-12-07. Retrieved 2008-12-13. 
  17. ^ "CRUACHAN Frontman 'Savagely Attacked' In Dublin". 2011-03-04. Retrieved 2011-03-16. 

External links[edit]