Suidakra - Book of Dowth
AFM Records
Folky Melodeath
10 songs (40:08)
Release year: 2011
Suidakra, AFM Records
Reviewed by Jaime
I've always had time for Suidakra. Maybe it's their fascination with things of Celtic origin like their fellow Teutons Grave Digger, or that their folk tinged melodeath has been tempered for more seasons than the fur clad, accordion bothering upstarts that bubbled up during the little folk metal explosion, not to mention them outlasting a vast number of their northern melodeath contemporaries. I've never really understood why Germans are so seemingly taken by Scottish and Irish lore, but the band have seen fit to create a concept album based around the Fomori.

As for the album itself there's a mixture of things on show. Intro track Over Nine Waves utilizes some Irish bagpipes to decent effect, avoid being twee and flies straight into Dowth 2059 which is a fairly typical up-tempo melodeath track, charging through with the occasional power metal flair and the key change at the end, and Battle-Cairns has that certain folksy stomp to it that surfaces in a number of other groups. It's Biróg's Oath that things take a bit of a change, with the clean vocals taking on a round form and being repeated as the guitars and whatnot gradually pop up underneath, causing the airy nature the vocals had to shift towards something stronger, especially with the backing vocals reinforcing them. Mag Mell is a little acoustic ditty has a surprising amount going on despite its initial simplicity. The vocals are really good, and it works well as a story telling element in between the heavier tracks and on its own if you didn't have a clue that there was a concept album surrounding the thing.

Things go back to the metal side with The Dark Mound, which has a few sections that help separate it from the rest such, as the chorus and the "epic" (loath as I am to use the term) mid paced parts, but when any element of speed comes to the fore the blasting and riffing is all but indistinguishable from the first tracks. Balor doesn't do much to dispel this, managing to go even faster than the rest until the choruses. The vocals manage to stand out a bit more here for some reason as generally they're strong and clear, but they're more noticeable in Balor. The lead sections here are deftly handled and fluid in spite of the slightly awkward jutter into the last chorus. Seeming as if their folk influences were in question they trot out Stone of Seven Suns with the jingly little intro before going all Ensiferum with the gang vocals cropping up for the choruses. Said jingly part leads into the slightly grim intro of Fury Fomoraigh, a thunderclap of a track that, as you may have guessed from the title, doesn't exactly take things easy. Even in the slightly slower parts there's a certain energy or rush going on that I wish they could've injected in a few other spots in the album. The last minute or so is awesome, with the bagpipes and strings screeching over the guitars rather discordantly. They could've just left it there and I'd have been rather happy but chose to include the outro track Otherworlds Collide, acoustic guitars over wind sound effects and completely unneeded, siphoning the tail end of Fury Fomoraigh's drive away.

Production wise that albums pretty solid. Suidakra's vocals have always had that clear delivery which is a definite strength of theirs, and the folk elements are well done too. Just a shame that for some of the metal tracks they didn't mix it up a bit more as they were pretty one dimensional, especially compared to the likes of Biróg's Oath, which wasn't anything fancy or technical but captured something beyond them simply playing fast with Scots and Irish based melodies. Regardless it's a decent, flawed album and might be worth a look into.
Killing Songs :
Biróg's Oath, Mag Mell, Balor, Fury Fomoraigh
Jaime quoted 77 / 100
Other albums by Suidakra that we have reviewed:
Suidakra - Auld Lang Syne reviewed by Khelek and quoted 86 / 100
Suidakra - Crogacht reviewed by Alex and quoted 80 / 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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