Metal Hammer Interview: Cnoc An Tursa

6 03 2013

Here’s a reprint of an interview I did with Cnoc An Tursa for Metal Hammer.

Fresh Meat


Forged in 2006 in Falkirk, Scotland (a place whose borough motto is “Better Meddle wi’ the Deil than the Bairns O’ Falkirk”) Cnoc An Tursa’s Celtic-infused brand of black metal is an intoxicating brew that couples the poetry of Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Stuart Blackie together with the power of extreme sounds. While the marriage (which began when founding members Rene McDonald Hill and Alan Buchan decided to put the words of the poem Hail Land Of My Fathers’ to music) may provoke some purists to raise an eye-brow, the band’s debut The Giants Of Auld certainly proves that both art-forms are natural bed-fellows.

“Poetry and black metal certainly works for us,” says guitarist/keyboardist Rene. “We are all interested in our country’s history and culture and the poems are relevant to the band’s aim, purpose and meaning. It’s the heart and soul of Cnoc An Tursa. The poetry usually comes after the music is written; it’s the final touch and truly delivers a positive message of Scotland and its heritage.”

“Musically, the Celtic influence was inspired by the work performed by Blakkheim Nyström on Diabolical Masquerade’s Nightwork album,” adds vocalist/guitarist Alan. “That was really influential to both the lead work and keyboards on The Giants Of Auld.”

Recorded over a period of 12 days in Wales by Primordial/Napalm Death/Electric Wizard producer Chris Fielding and featuring songs that were composed from 2006-2009, Cnoc An Tursa (or “hill of sorrow” in English) release their first opus on February 25 via Candlelight Records and they’re understandably proud to be linked with such an iconic label.

“Candlelight is at the forefront of the extreme music scene and has introduced us to some truly incredible bands over the years,” offers Alan. “We are absolutely stoked to be signed to Candlelight Records and would like to thank label mates Chris Naughton and Winterfylleth for opening the doors.”


Who Are They?

LINE-UP: Alan Buchan (vocals, guitar), Rene McDonald Hill (guitars, keyboards), David Anderson (bass), Bryan Hamilton (drums).

SOUND LIKE: A black metal-scored walk through Scottish history.

CURRENT RELEASE: The Giants Of Auld (Candlelight).