EP REVIEW: PYROLYSIS – ‘The Whalers Lantern’ (2022)

Barefoot and acoustic, Pyrolysis play stormingly fast-paced and energetic songs perfect for any tavern brawl, but also some darker ballads that speaks of rainy days.

Pre-Covid we had one hell of a gig lined up for you lucky Londoners starring two of the best Dutch Celtic-Punk bands the Netherlands has to offer. Heading off to play a festival somewhere down in Devon the bands were lured to north London (by promise of fame and fortune!) and Pyrolysis and The Royal Spuds were all set to blow the roof off the infamous Dublin Castle in Camden. Sadly, like a lot of other planned London Celtic Punks events, the gig bit the dust and all our hard work in the end went for nothing. So moving on two + years later and its great news to hear new music coming out from both bands recently with The Royal Spuds new album Roots Of Life reviewed on these pages just last month.

Formed in 2012 in Zaltbommel (also known as Bommel) in the Netherlands as Pyrolysis and the first thing to get out the way is their weirdly interesting name.

  1. the application of heat to chemical compounds in order to cause decomposition
  2. chemical decomposition of compounds caused by high temperatures

The band are famous for playing barefooted but don’t be fooled into thinking these folks are just a bunch of laid back hippies playing acoustic music as they have always showed they could rustle up both wings of Celtic-Punk with some super catchy Celtic-Folk and, like on their debut album’s final track, ‘Lets Do It Now’ that showed they can turn their hand to trad Punk as well as trad Folk music. In 2020, the band used the lack of festivals and gigs to record and release the Alotslse EP as well as two singles, ‘Leave Me’ and ‘Rest van de Dag Vrij’ which are both included here.

‘The Whaler’s Lantern’ begins with the title song and was the EP’s first single released accompanied by a stunning animated video by Black Galley Media, who also just happens to be Tim the bands Irish Bouzouki player (You can find his visual work at https://blackgalleymedia.nl/). The video follows the main character, the whaler, as he’s judged for his greed and blood thirst by storms and whales alike. This is the fourth song written about the ‘lantern man’, who they have named Neil, who has appeared on a bunch of their album covers. Intelligent and infectious, fast paced Celtic-Folk of the sort that would have even the most miserable of folk up on the dance floor or at the very least tapping their legs in tune.

“The waters show the harvester the nature of his crimes
A hunter on the run, my terrain has called my time
Final tears come pouring, there’s no way I’ll win the fight
This poor old whaler’s lantern truly is the final light”

The accordion leads and they manage to get a sound that you’d find was only four members. Great production without over doing it. Next up is ‘Path Of The Flame’ which has a ‘eastern’ feel to it. Due in no small part I think to the prominence of the accordion again. The fiddle gives it a Celtic edge but it especially reminds me of the English Folk-Rock bands of the 70’s. Previous releases (according to memory as I lost all their back catalogue when my old computer went kaput! a few years ago) combined a mixture of classic Folk covers, traditional reels and original compositions but here all the music and lyrics are by Pyrolysis. Next up is the EP’s only instrumental the catchy as hell ‘Rest Van De Dag Vrig’ and gives the band the chance to really excel themselves. I really enjoyed it.

During the last CeltCast fantasy awards Pyrolysis had the honour of playing live on stage ‘Peace Bells’ that they wrote during the lock down about keeping hope that one day life will blossom again. A slow song, not quite a ballad and sung by the talented Rikke whose beautiful voice really gives the song meaning. The curtain comes down with the final song ‘Leave Me’ and a great song to end things.

“You have given me shadows
It’s all I’ve ever known
Now I light my torch and guide myself
To a place that I call home”

The EP was recorded at Dearworld Studio and mixed by Fieke van den Hurk and mastered by Sander van der Heide. The sound as mentioned is perfect and you will find it hard to believe that it’s only Tim, Stan, Rikke, Laurens and Joshua. The beautiful artwork was done by the bands fiddler Rikke Linssen. If you are in the London area then Pyrolysis finally make their debut on a London stage on Friday 15th July at The Troubadour  on Old Brompton Road, London SW5 9JAL with renowned London Pagan-Celtic band PerKelt. A great night is in store and we look forward to seeing you there but don’t be dropping any safety pins about the place!!

(Download or stream The Whaler’s Lantern via the Bandcamp player below)

Buy The Whaler’s Lantern  Bandcamp  EverywhereElse

Contact Pyrolysis  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube

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