I’ve become so immensely jaded with the world of folk metal that any time I come across any single piece of the style that I cannot help but feel like I’ve stumbled upon real gold given the plethora of acts out there in the style that don’t live up to even half of what many of us would hold up as a standard in the style. When I first came upon the debut from Hand of Kalliach at the tail end of last year, not much could’ve prepared me for what I found. Far from the best that I’ve heard, it was their debut work that really caught me off-guard and still provides plenty of enjoyment to this day with not many other acts in the same vein being able to come close to what the EP achieved. With their first full-length, though, Hand of Kalliach has truly outdone themselves.
While the surprise of new material from this band so soon after their debut, that, of course, doesn’t automatically qualify this album has something that needs to be heard since such a claim would be made solely off of the credentials of its predecessor. But any doubt that any of us may have had about whether or not Hand of Kalliach would be able to deliver an experience that would, at the very least, be on par with what they gave last year is instantly washed away by just the first track of “Samhainn” with the album as a whole really showing us what this band is truly capable of: true, undeniable glory the likes of which folk metal really needs more of. While still missing the real, enchanting folk instruments that I almost always consider paramount in this style, it’s in every one of these ten tracks that Hand of Kalliach delivers a performance that is by no means less gripping as we see this duo really lean into their strengths for the entirety of the record that makes it frenetic, powerful, compelling, and outright gorgeous. “Samhainn” sees this duo also lean slightly more into their melo-death aspect with the vocals, in particular, bringing that side to life fantastically with both sets of vocals playing off each other perfectly with tremendous energy that pairs beautifully with the equally intense and fluid instrumentation that graces the entirety of the record that keeps piling up to make for a wondrously compelling record that any fan who has any sense will make a point to investigate immediately.
There’s real power and awe poured into every minute of this work, and it can be felt through every single one of those minutes with the added attention to detail by Hand of Kalliach reverberating throughout every corner of this release to culminate in a powerful effort that has more than enough reason to capture any ear that comes by it. “Samhainn” may not seem like much to many who didn’t already know what this band is capable of before, but it’s here that Hand of Kalliach has certifiably elevated themselves to another level altogether to make them one of the newest bands of folk metal that absolutely needs to be watched.
“Samhainn” releases on October 22nd via Trepanation Records!
LISTEN to singles from “Samhainn” on Bandcamp here.
LIKE Hand of Kalliach on Facebook here.