One of the albums that I most anticipated this year was Suidakra's follow up to their magnificent release Crogacht. To say that the wait was worth it is an understatement as the band has taken their ability to combine the heaviest metal with Celtic folklore and music to a new level. As the saying goes, the best just keep getting better and the band that really leads the way in this genre has firmly planted their flag at the top of the mountain with this tasty release.
The concept this time around is the ancient myth about the mysterious race of demons known as the Formor and their battle with the human race. It is a far encompassing story and it is well put forth on this disc. From ancient times to far into the future the story is wove by the band in such a way that if this was a book it would be called a page turner. You really want to hear how it comes out! Unlike a book though, this version will be just as enjoyable time and time and time again. Suidakra weaves a spellbinding tale with their blend of traditional folk and mighty metal in such a way that you will never grow tired of listening to them deliver the goods.
The story and album starts with just what you might expect. The lone bagpiper showing you the Otherworld islands that are "Over Nine Waves". This instrumental intro will set the tone for what is to follow as that lone bagpipe is quickly accompanied by some searing guitars. This leads you to the start of the tale that takes place a little bit in the future called "Dowth 2059". This powerful beginning sucks you in as Arkadius Antonik uses all his vocal talents from clean vocals to his well known snarling growl to paint a vivid picture of the old world colliding with the new while the band uses the mixture of folk and some mighty metal to further add to the imagery. This is the magic of Suidakra as they are one of the few bands that can bring these elements together in so seamless a manner.
Whether they are taking you into battle, "Battle-Cairns" or casting the spell to bind the Formorians souls to a book "Birog's Oath" the specter of the ancient permeates the music thanks to the folkish vein that runs through the music or in the later case the addition of vocals by Tina Stabel who's earthy style adds a glimpse into a past where you just might be fighting a demon somewhere in the Irish countryside.
In the song "Mag Mell" Arkadius sounds like he is down at the local pub with this tune that carries the song into the far future. It is the breather before the metal storm the band bestows upon you as the story races to it's climax.
The fury of "Balor" takes hold after an acoustic beginning and the bagpipes in the background are a magnificent touch to this one that teeters between the metal and the more folksy side throughout the song. They keep you on your toes for sure as they start to wind this tale up with the hard to resist "Stone Of Seven Suns" and the last chapter which is the aptly titled "Fury Fomoraigh". Suidakra manages to capture both the power of metal and the essence of traditional folklore in such an enchanting way that the listener is taken away to the land and the events as told by the band.
This one is as much fun as you can have with this genre of music. It is really a must have for all the people out there that have a taste for metal or a good story or both. They have pulled off what few can and this is one of the must have discs of the year.
1. Over Nine Waves (intro)
2. Dowth 2059
4. Birog's Oath
5. Mag Mell
6. The Dark Mound
8. Stone Of Seven Suns
9. Fury Fomoraigh
10. Otherworlds Collide (outro)