Strangely enough, Native American one man band Blackbraid‘s sonic assault is not too far removed from Celtic counterparts Ruadh; both delve deep into ancestral lore and legend, and both propel their tales of glory and despair with a powerful mix of old school black, battle and traditional metal tropes.

Of course there are differences; Blackbraid favour a slightly more organic approach, featuring mournful flute and extended acoustic passages, but the bond between the primal urges of both acts bridges a gap of thousands of miles to hit the listener right in something very remote and ancient indeed.

The plaintive As The Creek Flows Softly By does indeed lead the listener to silent musings on the nature of, well, nature; Blackbraid’s progenitor Sgah’gahsowah takes you right to the heart of his Adirondack homeland here, but it’s a brief sojourn between bursts of high-velocity, high quality metal. A nice grasp of light and shade, for sure, but probably one that really just serves to highlight the controlled savagery that’s going on around it.

Both Sacanga and opening track The River of Time Flow Through Me pepper their heads down mayhem with slower, more considered passages that wouldn’t have been out of place on Manowar‘s post debut, pre-Fighting The World output, displaying a fine songwriting nous that recognises the good sense of spacing out the blitzkrieg elements of the sound with a bit of good old headbanging metal; the upshot is a pretty listenable one, and Sgah’gahsowah is an accomplished enough musician and arranger to pull of the juxtaposition with deft skill and finesse.

Best track Barefoot Ghost Dance on Bloodsoaked Soil evidences this methodology best, careering along at breakneck speed, easing back for a short, drum led mid section before unleashing hell in the albums heaviest section to finish. It really is all-consuming in it’s intensity, making it almost impossible for the listener not to become involved at a physical level with what’s screaming out of the speakers. Impressive stuff.

As the globalist grip tightens on our throats everywhere, it’s never been more vital to celebrate and investigate our roots, even at some distance of remove. Blackbraid use an unlikely method to achieve that goal here, but my word the result is a resounding success. More power to them.

I is out now.