Tag Archives: Theigns & Thralls

ALBUM REVIEW: THEIGNS & THRALLS – Theigns & Thralls (2022)

The new project from Skyclad vocalist Kevin Ridley Theigns & Thralls sees the release of their self titled debut album and while it may divide Metal fans it’s one that should get Celtic-Punk fans very excited.

Theigns & Thralls is a new band formed by vocalist and songwriter Kevin Ridley. Kevin has been a long time member of the English heavy metal band Skyclad who always played with strong Folk influences throughout their music. The plan for Theigns & Thralls was to be a somewhat ‘occasional band’ for the times when Skyclad were inactive. With the pandemic though the idea took on a new lease of life and became a collaborative recording project. Calling on his many friends in the music scene across Europe, twenty-five musicians from bands like Korpiklaani, Ensiferum, Cruachan, Waylander, Celtibeerian and Metal De Facto as well as a handful of solo musicians contributed. Everything from drums, bass, guitar, violin, whistles, bagpipes, hurdy-gurdy and vocals were covered and the result was the first Theigns & Thralls single, ‘Drinking’, in February this year.

I think you can divide the album into three parts with the the first few songs leaning more into Celtic-Punk territory before becoming more Metal / Rock influenced while the last few songs, mainly the bonus tracks are more folky / experimental. The album kicks off with ‘Procession’, a short bagpipe intro that builds and builds and leads straight into album title track ‘Theigns & Thralls’

“from Magna Carta to the age of reform,
suffrage is still not the norm for one and all,
still theigns and thralls.”
which gives us a chance to explain the name ‘Theigns & Thralls’ which means masters and servants in Shakespearean era English. While many of the Metal style flourishes are left the pacing of the song is classic Celtic-Punk which ought to please fans of both. Kevin Ridley says about the song:

“I decided early on to have an eponymous album, so the album had the same name as the band, but I also thought to go one stage further and add a song with the same name. As it is the opening song, I wanted it to up-tempo and be anthemic as it also conveys some of the band’s underlying philosophy, in terms of its socio-political stance. Again, Dagda’s pipes helped to lift the song and I really enjoyed adding a bit of old-school harmony guitar here.”

As mentioned above it was the song ‘Drinking’ that really set things off for Theigns & Thralls. The album version is longer than the video and contains the ‘drunken guitarist’ intro. A anthemic song unlikely based on a 17th century poem by Abraham Cowley with a multitude of players on it, including Emilio Souto on guitar, Jonne Järvelä on mandolin and Dave Briggs on whistle. Band founder Kevin adds:

“I came across an old poem called ‘Drinking’, I thought folk-metal and drinking, what could possibly go wrong? Again, this song has a big chorus and I thought it would be good to ask all the people playing on the album to add some backing vocals and do a little video of themselves recording it so we could make it into a video.”

A great song that encapsulates the fun side of Theigns & Thralls. Catchy and with the most perfect pint / fist in the air chorus I’ve heard in a good while.

Next up is the first version on the album of the fiddle led ‘Strive’ with its thudding and ominous bass followed by ‘The Lord Of The Hills’ which has a 70’s English Folk ring to it. ‘Life Will Out’ is another song that has two versions her. This one significantly better than the one that closes things. Female vocal from guest appearances from Celtibeerian accompanies Kevin (using a voice transformer) with bagpipes and chugging guitar giving it a dark feel. ‘The Highwayman’ begins with a rather cheesy spoken word intro before tearing into a rockin’ version of the 1906 poem by Alfred Noyes. Set in 18th-century rural England, the highwayman is in love with Bess, a landlord’s daughter. Betrayed to the authorities, the highwayman escapes ambush when Bess sacrifices her life to warn him. Learning of her death, he is killed in a futile attempt at revenge. However, their souls reunite after death. Speaking of love, courage, and sacrifice, perfect themes for Theigns & Thralls. ‘Today We Get To Play’ is the most Celtic-Punk track here and actually reminds me of a handful of bands from the scene in it’s upbeat-ness!

‘The New Folk Devils’ touches on serious subject matter of judging people on their looks from Mods and Rockers then to immigrants today. Slow enough to take in Kevin’s vocals it’s followed by ‘Flora Robb’ an instrumental Folk number with excellent piping. The album part of Theigns & Thralls ends with ‘Not Thru The Woods Yet’ and a superb catchy song which brings to mind Flogging Molly. The first of the bonus tracks is ‘Over The Hills And Far Away’ and ought to be familiar to people on this side of the pond due to it’s time being used as the theme song for the classic British TV series Sharpe starring the king of Yorkshire himself, Sean Bean. Performed again in that 70’s English style. ‘The Queen Of The Moors’ is, I think, the only Skyclad song here featuring on their 2017 album Forward Into The Past. To close out the album the last three songs are a a acoustic version of ‘Strive’ followed by the shorter video version of ‘Drinking’ before the curtain comes down with a Electronic / Industrial remix of ‘Life Will Out’ that I’m afraid didn’t interest me at all at first but I rather got into after a few plays!

The album seems to have divided fans of Folk-Metal in that many were expecting the album to be a lot heavier than it is. I don’t understand though why these folk would imagine the point of setting up another Skyclad when the original is still running! We on the other hand absolutely love it and why not it’s a steady mix of Celtic-Punk, Folk, Folk-Metal and classic rock! Saying that at just under a hour it is far too long and some of the bonus tracks are a bit unnecessary. Perhaps it might have been better to release them independently as a EP. Now that the album is out Theigns & Thralls have put also become a ‘touring band’ in their own right but as of going to press gigs are mainly in Europe excepting a short tour her in December taking in Edinburgh, Newcastle, Kent and Lancaster.

Buy Theigns & Thralls RockshotRecords

Contact Theigns & Thralls WebSite Facebook Spotify

ODDS’N’SODS. A CELTIC-PUNK ROUND UP APRIL 2022

March is over and I hope we all made up for two years of frustration by having a bloody good time but now it’s another Odds’n’Sods. A place for all the news on Celtic-Punk scene’s bands big and small, established or just starting out.

A reminder too that we need your news so anything you would like to share with the rest of the Celtic-Punk scene send it onto us.

In case you missed it Ukrainian ‘Stout Rock’ band ShamRocks from Kyiv have just put out a new single based on an auld Irish rebel song some of you may recognise! We support all countries right to self-determination, free from aggression. ShamRocks have featured here several times in the past so check out their last album, FCP Live, from 2020 and maybe chuck the lads a quid or two if you can manage it. You can show support via https://www.defendukraine.org/donate

The Nebraska based Celtic-Punk band THE KILLIGANS seem to be calling themselves a Ska-Punk band these days but they are still one helluva band and they are back after a wee hiatus with a new 4-track EP, Dread Naught, including their new single about a sausage or something!

THE SCRATTERS are fine country folk made up of various members of The Skimmity Hitchers, The Dreadnoughts, The Surfin Turnips and The Mighty Shinkickers. Expect multiple Folk-Punk-Folk songs about Scrumpy and Western Cider.

THE FEELGOOD McLOUDS had a new single out last month. ‘Head Up’ was originally planned as an encouraging anthem during the pandemic but present events have unfortunately made the track even more appropriate.

Celtic / Folk metal is not a scene we know a great deal about. It’s more a case if we like it and hear it but the new track from THEIGNS & THRALLS is utterly brilliant. The brainchild of Skyclad singer-songwriter Kevin Ridley the video features guests from across the Folk-Metal and wider scene. Their self-titled debut album is out in April on Rockshot Records and we will definitly be listening out for it. 

CALIFORNIA CELTS sound really interesting with their new single a sorta Ska-Folk-Sea Shanty hybrid it comes with a really outstanding video which if their to be believed was done by someone who has won two Emmys !!

We could start including a whole section here for THE CLOVERHEARTS each month such is their prolific output. Just in the last month they have put out two fantastic tracks. Kicking off with a brilliant cover of the Johnny Cash penned ‘Ring Of Fire’ and ‘You’ve Got A Friend’. Both available for $1 from the bands Bandcamp page.

Hungarian band PADDY AND THE RATS are certainly one of Europe’s best Celtic-Punk bands and they just announced the release of their album From Wasteland To Wonderland at the end of April. The band have released one song so far and the album is available to order below.

A new band I just found are Celtic-Rockers BOG IRON from California and I’ve had their recently released live album, recorded at the Midsummer’s Fairytale Celtic Ren Faire playing non stop at London Celtic Punks towers over the last month. Very nice recording too. A notch above most live albums I have heard. If you click on the link be sure to take a listen to the brilliant ‘The Night Pat Murphy Died’ brilliant!!!!

Scottish-born Texas-based singer/songwriter HUGH MORRISON from Murder The Stout has another solo album out this month. Lift Your Head is 14 fresh new songs with the help of New Orleans legend Beth Patterson and percussion guru Pete Sosa. The album comes out on April 8 and is available for pre-release.

BRIGADE 77 – Rebellion (review on its way)

THE GARLIC KINGS – Громко, Крепко, Честно

GREGOR BARNETT – Don’t Go Throwing Roses In My Grave

THE BRIDGE CITY SINNERS – Unholy Hymns

MOONSHINE WAGON – Self-Destruction

THE KILLIGANS – Dread Naught EP (review also on its way!)

SIR REG – Kings Of Sweet Feck All (reviewed yesterday!!)

Remember we can’t review it if we don’t hear it

Blast from The Past is dedicated to bands, many of whom are no more, who put out great music but were never featured on these pages at the time. Usually they come with a free download link. This months band is still alive and kicking up a storm in the Manchester area. PARCEL O’ROGUES doing their best to keep Irish music relevant blending the traditional sounds of the Dubliners with the band’s many influences. They released Hope The Rain Keeps Up back in 2012 and the CD has long sold out but can be downloaded as a ‘Name Your Price’ download. They did some absolutely craic-ing live streams during the pandemic and have shown what a great live band they are.

THE TAN AND SOBER GENTLEMEN are one of the more inventive Celtic-Punk bands out there. From the Piedmont of North Carolina traditional music is in their blood.

All of us grew up playing the traditional music of our beloved state. “Our kind of music,” as the old-timers call it, is descended in part from the music brought over by the settlers from Scotland and Ireland. Irish music and North Carolinian music are long-lost relatives, and we aim to bring them back together. Furthermore, we believe in playing this music the way it used to be played. Not as performance art, or to put the musicians on a pedestal, but as a way to bring folks together in joy, merriment and community. Not to mention having as much fun as we possibly can.

One of the beautiful things in the scene is that many bands attempt to release records themselves far away from corporate control. To this the ‘sober gentlemen’ need your help so they’ve begun a Kickstarter appeal. if you want to hear our kind of music exist in recorded form, and to keep the Bhoys and Ghirls on the road, then this is is how to do it.

We love Aussie Celtic-Punk and we love the debut single ‘Mutiny!’ from CAPTAIN O’BRIEN’S CRAIC from Launceston, Tasmania. Catchy as feck and great fiddle! A 7 piece Pop/Punk band drawing influence from traditional Irish and Celtic sounds. Try and support all new bands as best you can. All their links available through Linktree.

Can’t wait for the MR. IRISH BASTARD tour. We’ll be supporting it throughout and hopefully making a trip outside London too. Seems THE SAW DOCTORS are back on the road with a tour announced for the end of the year. News on the London Celtic Punks front is we are pleased to announce our first gig in a couple of years with Italian band DIRTY ARTICHOKES – the tidiest Celtic-Punk band in the Celtic-Punk scene – returning to London at the beginning of August and will be playing with THE LAGAN and ANTO MORRA, two artists popular on the London Irish music scene that sadly haven’t been able to play much of late. The gig will be at the Bird’s Nest in Deptford and all details are on the Facebook event.

DROPKICK MURPHYS announced their only 2022 dates for the UK. They will play the Slam Dunk festival, headlining the Dickies stage, taking part in Leeds and Hatfield over the weekend of June 3/4. Tickets are almost £100 (nearly a tenner booking fee) so good luck with that folks!

What about this for a bloody good video !! MR. IRISH BASTARD St. Patrick’s Day single dedicated to auld Marmite man Conor McGregor. Utterly superb but bejaysus Conor could do with a dacent PR man.

THE GROGGY BOYS first single from upcoming second album Still Groggin’ is another great slab of Pirate themed Celtic-Punk’n’Ska. The album out on Vampire Productions is like their debut album eight tracks loaded with Punk, Metal, Ska, Traditional Celtic Melodies and Ancient Sea Songs.

Facebook is shit. Proper shit. It’s telling that it only has 2/5 in the play app store! It’s stranglehold on all forms of expression is not good and people are leaving in droves. Don’t despair though you can still keep up with London Celtic Punks posts via our group on the new phone app Telegram. Very similar in style (but better and easier to use) than What’s App but the best thing of all is that it is completely free from outside interference. Join us on Telegram, don’t miss a single post and even receive the odd exclusive and special offer! https://t.me/londoncelticpunks/  

Even though we hate it Facebook does supply the occasional ray of sunshine so a shout out to some good friends of ours over on Facebook. The Dropkick Murphys- Fan Page and the Celtic Punk, Folk And Rock Fans are two of the best music forums on FB let alone Celtic-Punk. Ran By Fans For Fans just like you and me. Like and join in the fun!

If you like what we do then you can support us by checking out the London Celtic Punks online store. The Harp’n’Bones design is back in all sizes and on either black or white shirts. We have recently in polo shirts, in all sizes, and some nifty woolly hats as well as the last few remaining Green’n’White ‘Skully Cap’ ringer shirts. Click the link below for the full range of all our other tatt. Shirts, badges, stickers, flags, CD’s and fridge magnets all the discerning Celtic-Punk fan could ever need! Help keep Punk Celtic!  https://the30492shop.fwscart.com/

We’re far more use to giving out these sort of thing than receiving them but it really did make our day to receive this from the original and best Celtic-Punk web site out there – SHITE ‘n’ ONIONS. ‘Best Celtic-Punk Zine’ for 2021. For this and also the very kind words means a lot as we would certainly not be here if not for the inspiration and support from other Celtic-Punk media. #OneBigCelticPunkFamily. They finally got around to putting out their Best Of 2021 list and unsurprisingly, like on ours, The Peelers ran away with the #1 spot. You can check out their list here.

And finally here’s another great *FREE DOWNLOAD* for you this month. Now we’re neither hippies nor are we warmongers but realists. War is sometimes a necessary evil but only after all avenues have been explored and always we must beware of politicians ready to send young men and women from our class not theirs off to fight and die. With that in mind here’s the 3-track single from CHUMBAWAMBA (remember them?) ‘Jacob’s Ladder (Not in My Name)’ that was first released in response to the illegal Iraqi war.  https://www.mediafire.com/file/xjkiayngyiwc4sa/jacladde.rar/file

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