Coscradh – Nahanagan Stadial Review

There’s something primal lurking beneath Nahanagan Stadial as its immense title track kicks in. Dublin’s Coscradh is blackened death and war metal at its core, crawling riffs, reverb-laden vocals adding to relentless bottom-end riffage and guitar-abusing speed, with a heaping helping of doom to top things off. Yet, as its name suggests,1 in tongues of iconoclasts and blasphemers lies the silhouette of ancient earth and Irish heritage. Recalling the guitar-less drudgery of Thecodontion or the atmospheric pummeling of Supercontinent, Nahanagan Stadial creates a humid and thick soundtrack of Irish and earthen history.

A young group formed in 2015, this quartet has nonetheless had its share of experience, members dredged from bogs of the Emerald Isle’s acts like Vircolac, Sacrilegia, and Belial’s Throne. The act’s moniker referring to triumph in slaughter or massacre, Coscradh balances its prehistoric themes with vitriol: there are no meandering or meditative passages, just meteoric blasting of unhinged proportions. Whether shredding with Deiphago-esque BPM-shredding riffage or smothered in its death/doom gravitas, there is nothing listener-friendly about Nahanagan Stadial’s scorched earth attack. While this results in concussive insanity aplenty, Coscradh’s songwriting and excessive war metal influence presents a make-or-break dilemma for the act’s future.

That’s not to say that Coscradh is unlistenable, and are often quite the opposite. Comparisons to this year’s Egregore are fair in unhinged insanity, but Nahanagan Stadial offers a more calculated approach. The best tracks here is the opening title track and closing epic “Feallaire Dóite,” as these manage to insert fluid doom passages and barbed blackened flavors with ritualistic percussion that keeps them firmly grounded between prehistoric primitivism and gleeful slaughter. The meat of the album, “Feast of the Epiphany,” “Plagues of Knowth,” and “Cladh Hàlainn” are raging war metal anthems of wailing solos and relentless blastbeats, admirable for their use of descending central melodies and effective horroresque soundbites. The guitar tone throughout is also impressive, balancing humid opaqueness with thorny shred, allowing solos to float atop with relative ease. Vocals, provided by three-fourths of the group, inject a uniquely unhinged menace to the album, even in the atmospheric vocals-only closing two minutes.

Nahanagan Stadial’s bookends showcase professionalism and competence in its composition, but the meat shows war metal decadence and excessive brutality. Especially comparing Coscradh to other Irish black/death fusions, they are woefully lacking purpose. You might ponder painfully human blasphemy when Sermon of FlamesI Have Seen the Light and It Was Repulsive concludes or feel whisked away to the dark lands of Irish heritage by the end of Scáth Na Déithe’s The Dirge of Endless Mourning, for instance, but Coscradh feels starkly empty, its prehistoric and historic themes whimsical afterthoughts to the gleeful massacre. As a result, especially compared to Sermon of Flames, Coscradh’s wayward experimental influences feel painfully inconsistent, such as the anachronistic electronic warbles concluding the title track and “Plagues of Knowth.” Vocals, although impressively ranging from hellish gutturals to unhinged blackened interjections, are too loud in the mix, overpowering too much too often.

Nahanagan Stadial’s bookends prove that Coscradh can create great music. When these Irishmen slow things down and let the music breathe, listeners will feel taken to the unforgiving landscapes of young earth and ancient Ireland, miles of ominous forest interspersed by violent blasts of lava and battle in creation by means of destruction. However, for twenty of this album’s reasonable forty-one minutes, our ears are battered by explosive blasting and spastic solos with BPM-shattering insanity – for little purpose. Perhaps better off as an EP, Nahanagan Stadial’s best assets would shine best after trimming the fat and letting their formidable heft sprawl. While I do believe that Coscradh has all the pieces, the simple act of finding where they all fit into their songwriting is crucial to creating the impact they are clearly capable of.


Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
LabelInvictus Productions
Websites: coscradh.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/coscradh
Releases Worldwide: August 5th, 2022

Show 1 footnote

  1. According to the promo, it is the old Irish term for the rapid onset of the glacial period ten thousand years ago.
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