Essential Albums - Scatha 'Respect, Protect, Reconnect'

Scatha. First of all how do you pronounce that word? Well for a start its Scots Gaelic, so the name is in fact something like ‘sca-ha’.

This record represents the best, and probably most accessible, of the Celtic hardcore scene that reared its head during the 1990’s. Scatha appeared out of the ashes of the excellent hardcore band Sedition, and along with bands such as Ireland’s The Dagda, formed an exciting metallic hardcore punk sound focusing squarely on environmental and animal rights issues that was a world away from the nihilism and despair of their American counterparts, coming much more from a lineage of crusty bands such as Antisect and Amebix but with a less thrashy, more groove laden style.

‘Respect, Protect, Reconnect’ comes across as something like a punk soundtrack to films like ‘The Wicker Man’, what with the front cover image of a Celtic goddess, the track titles such as ‘Pagan Idolatry’ and ‘Mannanan Weeps’ and the evocative use of samples.

This is an album really worth tracking down for an insight into a completely hidden, underground part of the UK punk scene. Discovering Scatha was a personal revelation, finding a band singing about and exploring issues normally associated with the hippy/New Age fringe - issues that I am certainly receptive too, but I could never stand Afro Celt Sound System...Scatha took the language and imagery of the pagan fringe and fused it with a dynamic punk-metal sound, creating something very exciting indeed. It's urgent, to the point, far more listenable than Sedition of bands such as Disaffect without watering any of the heaviness.

A very British record, if you know what I mean?