Cruachan Black Metal / Co. Dublin

Editor Notes:

CRUACHAN hardly need any introduction to fans of Irish Metal. Whether you love or hate their brand of Folk/Pagan Metal, you can’t deny their success within the metal community. Particularly throughout Europe! I was onto Keith a while back about uploading their debut ‘Celtica’ demo from 1994, which he was good enough to allow me do. And as a bonus I’ve included an early rehearsal recording from 1995 of the track ‘Cuchulain (The Hound Of Culann)’. There’s also recording of a very early live gig that the band played in Nancy Spains, Cork back in 1994.

They have a couple of pretty detailed biographies already online which I’ve pilfered and used here…

Century Media Records showed a lot of interest in 1997 and arrangements were made for a signing. The band N.E.P. and negotiated with Century media. Unfortunately this deal never materialised. CRUACHAN continued writing and playing, not only to metal audiences but in Celtic festivals and with internationally renowned acts to a variety of people.

In January 1999 Keith and John Fay decided it was time to source a fresh record deal as fans kept writing asking about the possibility of a second album. Hammerheart Records from Holland were keen to sign them, in October 1999 the deal was sorted and CRUACHAN began recording their second album entitled “The Middle Kingdom” in November 1999, this was released in June 2000. During this period CRUACHAN played shows extensively throughout Ireland.

“Folklore”, CRUACHAN ’s third album was released in 2002 to huge acclaim. It was recorded by and features vocals by the legendary Shane Mc Gowan of THE POGUES. The single ‘Ride On’ reached number 40 in the Irish charts. It received high marks in all the top Metal Magazines (Rock Hard, Legacy, Aardshock etc.). With this album CRUACHAN toured Europe and headlined festivals in both Germany and Norway.

“Pagan” is CRUACHAN’s 4th studio album and was released in April 2004. Again this album has been regarded as a breakthrough in folk metal and once more received fantastic reviews. The cover artwork was painted by John Howe, the artist from The Lord of the Rings movies. Since Pagan’s release CRUACHAN have performed all over Europe including 2 Headlining Russian tours and 1 headlining European tour in 2005, to date they are the only Irish band in history, metal or otherwise, to have toured Russia.

In 2005 CRUACHAN signed with AFM records. John Ryan was originally hired as a replacement for John Fay, but stayed with CRUACHAN despite the latter returning again in 2008. Their 5th studio album “The Morrigan’s Call” was recorded by Gail Leibling from GAIL OF GOD!

CRUACHAN left AFM in early 2010. At this time vocalist Karen Gilligan left the band and they decided not to replace her and return to their roots and create extreme folk metal music. They recorded a 3 song demo which was only sent to a select few people. Keith Fay became the lead vocalist again and the band returned to a more extreme style of music. A session female vocalist joins the band on tour to sing Gilligan’s parts. A recording contract was sorted with Candlelight records in summer 2010 and recording of their latest album “Blood on the Black Robe” began in November 2010. And was officially released on 18th April 2011 and was the first installment of the bands ‘Blood Trilogy’ of albums.




Black Metal, Folk Metal, Pagan Metal

Year Formed




Members (Current)

  • Keith Fay - Vocals, Electric/Acoustic Guitar, Keyboard, Bouzouki, Mandolin, Tin-Whistle, Bodhrán
  • Joe Farrell - Bass (2020-present), Drums, Percussion (2000-2007)
  • David Quinn - Guitar (2020-present)
  • Audrey Trainor - Violin (2020-present)
  • Tom Woodlock - Drums, Percussion (2020-present)

Members (Former)

  • John Ryan - Violin, Tin Whistle, Bouzouki, Mandocello, Banjo, Keyboards, B.Vocals(2004-2020)
  • John Fay - Flute, Whistles, Uilleann pipes, Recorder, Bombard, Keyboards, Percussion (1992-1997, 1999-2002, 2003, 2008-2016)
  • Ed Gilbert - Banjo, Guitars (acoustic), Keyboards, Tin whistle (2001-2003)
  • Rustam Shakirzianov - Bass (2018-2020)
  • Eric Fletcher - Bass (2012-2018)
  • John Clohessy - Bass, Vocals (backing) (1993-1997, 1999-2012)
  • Kieran Ball - Guitars (2012-2020)
  • Jay Brennan - Guitars (1997)
  • Leon Bias - Guitars (acoustic), Bouzouki, Mandolin (1994-1995)
  • Steven Anderson - Guitars, Vocals (1992-1994)
  • Mauro Frison - Drums (2012-2020)
  • Jay O'Neill - Drums, Percussion (1992-1997)
  • Joe Farrell - Drums, Percussion (2000-2007)
  • Colin Purcell - Drums, Percussion (2007-2012)
  • Collete O'Fathaigh - Keyboards (1994-1995)
  • Karen Gilligan - Vocals, Percussion (1999-2008)
  • Aisling Hanrahan - Vocals (1997)