Suidakra - Crogacht
SPV/Wacken Records
Celtic flavored Melodic Death Metal
9 songs (41'16")
Release year: 2009
Reviewed by Alex

The prologue to this review has got be my confession that I am yet to be 100% convinced by Suidakra. My pattern with this German band remains the same. Somewhere I read a rave review of one of their albums, go out, buy it, listen to it once or twice, then put it on a shelf to rarely, if ever, revisit again. The Arcanum, Emprise to Avalon, Signs for the Fallen, Caledonia – you name it I own it. All acquired because someone else was obviously a huge fan, but these albums failed to convert me. Could it be that I much better grasp Pagan/Celtic/Irish direction in extreme metal when darkness and sorrow are the primary feelings emanated specifically by the native bands (Primordial, Darkest Era), as opposed to these influences being fused into a melodic death adaptation performed by an outsider? With Crogacht delving directly into Irish folklore Suidakra had one more chance to make a believer out of me and I have to say they came close.

Musically speaking Crogacht is an exercise of hyper-harmonizing, trying to pile up as many layers into a song as one possibly can. This album is intentionally and overtly melodic mile-tall wall of sound with a folk twist, which at the same time manages not to sound hokey. Somehow Suidakra successfully navigated the narrow dangerous waters between ol’ boring melodic death and gimmick Irish sound. Their blend of metal on Crogacht, even if I don’t always wholeheartedly agree with it, possesses its own face while staying true to their roots and has just the right balance between its many components.

The songs on Crogacht fit the title (the word means bravery) and have excellent dynamics, blasting and galloping away next to indigenous Celtic riffing (Shattering Swords). The clean singing multimember choruses are Irish warriors’ introspective forays before marching into battle or resting after one (Isle of Skye). The unhurried narrative tempo double bass can fade into acoustic guitars or, alternatively, bagpipes can open the floodgates to thundering beat of a thousand hoofs. I can hear some voices dismissing the clean chants, orchestral arrangements and almost power metal Falconer-like melodies (Gilded Oars). Yet, the album tells a stoic epic tale to the fullest, Arkadius’ gazillion layered vocal tracks whipping the ears with the strength of an army of Irish heroes. The album absolutely has a knack to come up with some opportune rhythm variation or an interesting riff just in time to keep the listener lured in, constantly. In that regard, make up your own mind whether a full-on acoustic Feats of War, sung by Tina Stabel in an overly boyish voice, is a distraction trick or a timely change of pace.

If the band tells you that their latest effort is their strongest to date, they are simply obligated to do so. Who would want to listen to something even its creator considers to be a step down? But when a former skeptic makes such statement, maybe there is truth to it. While I can’t say Crogacht is an album I would not be able to live without, it is a vital effort by Suidakra to show tangible progress in the realms of sound they became known for. The fans that were on board all along ought to truly enjoy it.

Killing Songs :
Isle of Skye, Scathach, Shattering Swords
Alex quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Suidakra that we have reviewed:
Suidakra - Book of Dowth reviewed by Jaime and quoted 77 / 100
Suidakra - Auld Lang Syne reviewed by Khelek and quoted 86 / 100
Suidakra - Signs for the Fallen reviewed by Jay and quoted 85 / 100
Suidakra - Emprise To Avalon reviewed by Chris and quoted 90 / 100
Suidakra - The Arcanum reviewed by Chris and quoted 94 / 100
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