With influences spanning decades, The Risen Dread have released a behemoth of an album. Irish metal is thriving when you hear the quality of the musicianship here on Night Hag. Having both Irish and Brazilian members in equal measure, The Risen Dread are chock-full of ideas and talent, and are on an upward trajectory, that shows no sign of easing off.
The Irish metal scene is on a high, there’s no denying that. Every genre and musical style is sprawled across the country. Dublin’s Irish/Brazilian quartet, The Risen dread have unleashed an album that commands everyone’s attention. Believe me, Night Hag is a beast of an album that whips up a storm right from the off. Buckle up and enjoy the ride!
Psychoses’ horror filled intro is awash with synths and immediate suspense. Well, that is until a vocal delivery that needs measuring on the Richter scale, bellows up from the fires of hell, and triggers a barrage of high octane, eighties influenced thrash diatribe that swings like a steel beam on a crane, in a hurricane, pendulously swaying between deathly growls to blackened screeches. A thundering intro to an album that’s obese with energy.
With eleven tracks on Night Hag, I don’t have enough time to step through every track, but I did have to pause and mention the second track Silent Disease. A super catchy melody with vocals that act as another instrument following the harmonies and tempo of the music. That mid-tempo gallop is laced with Iron Maiden melodies and Amon Amarth chant-ability. Then you have a Paradise Lost solos from the Gothic era bringing the track to a close amidst a fury of double bass kicks. This track really drags you by the scruff of the neck, through decades!
Obsession opens in a barrage of machine gun fire, spraying ammunition along the wall of death metal. Chugging riffs with blasting vocals lay siege, but that funky bass line courtesy of Mat Maher is the centre piece of this track, acting as the catalyst for what follows. If I was to hear influences on this track, then Gojira have stamped their presence here from start. But that bass line, fuck me, it’s infectious! The Gojira effect plays no small part in the next track Sound Of The Unknown, and seriously, The Risen Dread would give them a good run for their money, such is the talent and power on show. Another gritty, stomping creation, with William Ribeiro tearing it up on guitar.
Now, lets take a moment before we tackle White Night. There are not many bands out there that can grab the attention of the likes of Andreas Kisser. For those unfamiliar with the name, he’s a Sepultura legend. The Risen Dread got this guy to play on this track, and even without Andreas’s input, this is a juggernaut. From the moment the air raid sirens ring out and that drum beat kicks in, grinding riffs and a swirling lead guitar hooks you by the jowls and doesn’t let go. Blistering vocals and venomously plucked bass strings, along with a devil horned chorus drives the track through an onslaught of melody and might. It’s a beast of a track and to be fair, the highlight must be that wicked solo from Kisser. As I write this review, I’m on my fourth listen of White Night, such is the quality of the track.
It’s extremely hard to highlight any standout musicians here as these guys are all on fire throughout this album, but I have to say that Marco Feltrin’s vocals are absolutely insane, with a range that would shatter concrete and split the sky in one foul swoop. Coward’s 9 highlights it to the max, and is another groove driven track that explodes on impact. Lazzaretto’s high intensity riffs and crazy tempo changes keep this machine thundering along, relentlessly forging its own trail through a blizzard of aggression.
The Closing track, and the title track of the album, The Night Hag is awash with atmosphere and theatre, think Moonspell and Tiamat from the nineties and you will get an idea of the drama and suspense that the opening three minutes conjure up. With the likes of Brazilian composer Renato Zanuto writing the score, there’s no wonder it’s so big and grandiose. Colum Cleary’s drumming is something to behold throughout the album, but those high-speed kicks are savage on The Night Hag.
Irish metal is in safe hands when you hear the quality of the musicianship here on Night Hag. The Brazilian influence is colossal and gives The Risen Dread another edge that’s razor sharp. Josh Sid Robinson has done an amazing job in producing this album, giving every instrument room to breathe and be heard. What more can I say, only give this album a listen and try catch them live if they hit your town. I’ve no doubt it will blow you away.