Dun Ringill – Welcome

It may sound like a whimsical name for a quaint English country cottage but Dun Ringill has a far more serious pedigree, its members grouped from the ranks of Doomdogs and The Order Of Israfel among others. Debut album Welcome (Argonauta Records) drags influence from Nordic Folk as well as other more eccentric fields, while retaining something of a Stoner groove.

The opening ‘Welcome To The Fun Fair Horror Time Machine’ is sometimes as bonkers as it sounds but houses a Desert gravity that is reminiscent of last year’s Boss Keloid album Melted On The Inch (Holy Roar Records), especially with the roared chorus. The dual-vocal verses indicate novelty chaos but with a slow, crazy riff beneath a funky flute mid-section there’s a nice element of prog whimsy atop the dense rhythm.

‘Black Eyed Kids’ also commences in eerie fashion, the tinkling of a xylophone leading into a Heavy Metal romp with a rattling chorus, some bass-induced noodlings enlivening a fiery yet somewhat prosaic body.

‘Open Your Eyes…’ is dictated by an off-kilter beat and jaunty, old-style Folk pattern which largely hide an ill-fitting lyrical mess: its acoustic mid-section is lilting and endearing, the second half a Maiden-esque, pirate-like bluster which will delight fans of the likes of Alestorm.

The myriad styles continue with the initially downbeat ‘The Door’: an urgent beat leading into a dirty, Blues Metal rut but again, despite the obvious creative ability and some killer leadwork, it’s let down by a limited vocal and some very clunky lyrics. Sadly it’s a familiar tale for the groovy yet derivative ‘Snow Of Ashes’, some promising touches heavily overshadowed by the vocal delivery which is dated beyond comedy.

Only the serious emotion of funereal closer ‘The Demon Within’ shows anywhere near the quality expected from the talent on show here. Despite those neat flourishes Welcome proves to be the equivalent of finding out that the superstar you’ve idolised for years is actually something of a twat: it’s a serious disappointment.

5 / 10

PAUL QUINN