Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Suidakra - Book Of Dowth (2011)

Suidakra, a melodic death metal outfit from Germany, specialize in bringing Celtic folk elements to dark new places. No, that isn't a misprint. For those unfamiliar with the band, it is certainly strange to imagine a group of Germans bringing you to an Irish step dance infused lather. But that is precisely what happens on this, their latest adventure, "Book Of Dowth."

Taken from dark Celtic lore, the album tells the stories of the Fomor, a horde of demonic beings in ancient Ireland. Beginning with "Over Nine Waves," you are treated to the heavy, in time with the sublime. Bagpipes lead the way, over the sound of the sea and wind meeting in a powerful force. Double kicks and thrashing guitars enter, make the transition to "Dowth 2059." Classic headbanging style emerges, with high speed and heavy distortion. Harsh vocals charge into the fray, delivering the dark and dangerous tale of the book, uncovered in the future and bringing on disaster on death. The breakdowns provide reprieve from the slaughter, with somehow lighthearted Celtic guitars playing the lead.

The back and forth, give and take of guitar work continues in "Battle-Cairns," saturated with a huge drum sound, from blast beats to cymbal crashes. You will find the desire to don your armor and charge into battle against the demons, while also feeling the urge to break out in a "Lord Of The Dance" style routine. "Birog's Oath" sees the first appearance of a haunting female vocalist. Toms and acoustic guitars set the pace, before giving way to crunchy guitars at the trademarked "evil march" tempo. A soft piano outro, leading to delicate acoustic intro of "Mag Mell," otherwise known as the "plain of joy". A ballad of youth and beauty to rest your weary head.

"The Dark Mound" and "Balor" continue on the high powered journey, painting a dark portrait of the battles to come. High energy guitar work, completed by thunderous kick snare combos and growling vocals. "Stone Of The Seven Suns" showcases a uptempo chant, highlighted by marching snare drums and acoustic guitars. It is evidence that bands in this often stereotyped genre can, in fact, write a catchy hook. Vocal aggression rules the stage on "Fury Fomoraigh." With the evil book uncovered, the demons seek revenge for the years of imprisonment. The track borders on violent, bludgeoning you repeatedly with the heavy, coarse guitar work, drum rolls, and massive kicks. Endtimes arrive, and the track fades to reveal "Otherworlds Collide," an acoustic, stormy ending.

Suidakra have taken a stirring piece of ancient mythology, and done an admirable job of turning into a metal epic. And while unearthing the "Book Of Dowth" may have brought death and destruction to the world of the future, it is has certainly given the fans of this hard nosed German four piece something to look forward to.


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