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Lairig Ghru—Thermopylae (2005)

Lairig Ghru—Thermopylae (2005)

Lairig Ghru—Thermopylae (2005)


Recorded mid-2004 in Glasgow, Scotland. Released on Heathen Clan Records, 2005.

Encyclopaedia Metallum


  • John Howard—Vocals
  • John Howard—Guitars
  • John Howard—Bass
  • John Howard—Drums


  1. Thermopylae
  2. A storm on the horizon
  3. Bridge the chasm of sanity


[Another late review… sorry. It’s been a hectic few weeks.]

According to Encyclopaedia Metallum, “Lairig Ghru is named after a mountain pass in the Cairngorm range in north-east Scotland which according to folklore is cursed and haunted.”

I really wanted to like this EP. I really wanted to be able to support something Scottish. To hold this CD aloft and declare in polite company that this was a splendid example of fine, home-crafted metallic music. But I can’t.

Let’s get the production out of the way first. It’s pretty bad, but I can forgive that. Small budgets don’t allow for Andy Sneap-quality recordings or mixes. It sounds like it was recorded in the room next door. But not in a good way. Not in a the control room is next door, kind of way. The drums lack punch (or volume). The rhythm guitars sound like they are being overdriven by a vacuum cleaner; the lead guitar is too prominent in the mix, and sounds like a bagpipe. But it’s not that. It’s… not just that.

That can only really be classed as a black metal album, I guess, due to the lyrical content. It sounds more NWOBHM than black metal. It sounds like the rehearsal bootleg of a band who’d immersed themselves in early Iron Maiden and Diamond Head. But with croaky vocals.



The EP is deceptively long. The first and last songs clock in around 6’30”, the middle one is about a minute shorter. But they seem to go on for ever… trudging and disappointingly plodding.

Eventually it just fades out, off over the bridge of the chasm of sanity, through the fog of confusion, and into the history books of obscurity.

It could have been… but it would had required to be something completely other.


Review score: 20%

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