MAEL MORDHA’s sound is a unique fusion of traditional Irish folk laments and elegies with the crushing power of doom metal. The band views its music as conduit between this world and the spirit world and its songsprovide a dark, melancholy and epic soundtrack to historical and mythological tales of ancientIreland.

Formed inDublinin 1998 by Roibéard O Bogail, whose unusual “Sean-nos”-inspired traditional Irish vocal style gives the band its distinctive sound, MAEL MORDHA takes its name from a former King of Leinster, who met a bloody end in battle in the year1014 A.D.

The band endured a number of lineup changes while self-releasing three EPs between 1999 and 2003, before signing to Hammerheart Records/Karmageddon Media, who released the band’s debut full-length album, “Cluain Tarbh”, in 2005. Later that year the band moved to Grau Records and went on to release two new albums — 2007’s “Gealtacht Mael MOrdha” and 2010’s “Manannán” — through the German label which also re-released an extended version of “Cluain Tarbh” in 2008.


Mael Mordha are:

Roibéard O Bogail – vocals, piano, tin whistles
Gerry Clince – guitars
Dave Murphy – bass
Shane Cahill – drums

Damned when Dead
‘ Damned When Dead’ is the latest offering from Mael Mordha and I have to say the band have surpassed themselves on this album.The album artwork conveys  Manannán smashing Diarmuid’s tombstone whilst declaring him ” Putrid when living, Damned when dead” and gives the listener a subtle hint as to what the album contains..

As per usual with Mael Mordha, they have an Irish historical tale to tell and this time the story brings us all the way back to the 12th Century and deals with feuding warlords, a Pope, treachery, subjugation,bloodshed  and battles.

‘ Laudabiliter’ opens the album with rousing vocals and  a melodious tin whistle which does not pierce but rather blends in perfectly with the guitars.

‘ AllEirewill Quake’ ( available as a single on iTunes) contains fantastic hooks and a chorus which will have the Mael Mordha army screaming along to at live shows.

The title track and album closer ” Damned when Dead” is an incredible feat of musicianship which conveys all the emotions of Diarmuid’s funeral,transferring them beautifully to the listener. From the mournful beginning to the  explosion of anger as the cross is torn from the ground and the soil rejects Diarmuid’s body… Amazing piece of work and Mael

Mordha are to be commended for pulling this off to perfection. There is no filler on this album, all of the songs are extremely strong and portray a vivid picture ofIrelandin the 12th century.

This is one hell of a concept album which works perfectly. Rob’s guttural vocals filled with spite as he growls his way through the story, backed up by thundering drums, soaring guitars and a tin whistle which gives the album a haunting feel, works perfectly. I would highly recommend this album to everyone and challenge them not to feel moved by it. I firmly believe ” Damned When Dead” is the best album Mael Mordha have written to date and I eagerly anticipate their next album ( no pressure lads) as this band has gone from strength to strength since ” Cluain Tarbh” and I feel we will be hearing a lot more from them in the future. Buy it or be damned!!


Text :ReginaMitchell

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