Well i'd never heard of these guys until i saw them play at the Bloodstock festival in Derby. They blew me away and went down very well so i picked up this cd at the market stall and wasn't dissapointed at all.
I've played this to quite a few people and it's definately worth checking out.
What does it sound like? Not the heaviest of production but it goes back to 2002. The best way i can describe this is by likening it to such bands as Dark Tranquility & In Flames (whoracle era/Colony),sounds production wise like Whoracle. Musically it incorporates the two bands i've mentioned and adds an extra edge with a celtic feel to it.
If you've heard The Bard Song by Blind Guardian you will have a rough idea of where i'm coming from. Mixing all of these styles i feel gives them a very unique sound that i've not come across before and they do it very well,the guitar playing is of quite a high level with excellent melody lines holding songs together with some good guitar solo's to top it off.
Vocals i like,there's proper singing and also growling that is similar in style to Dark Tranquility. This is a very good cd and i'd highly recommend checking them out,they could be very big if they could reach the audience out there that will lap this stuff up,and there is an audience for this awesome style of music.
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Suidakra are a german folk metal band who've been playing for over ten years now, but sadly have yet to gain the recognition they deserve in the metal community. Which is a real shame as i think they're one of the best bands out there.
When i listen to Suidakra I am reminded mainly of the early Gothenburg bands, especially early DT and In Flames with their complex, delicate yet metal as hell leads as well as Finnish pionners Gates of Ishatar. But it would be a huge error of ignorance to write the band off as a hollow clone of the aforementioned. They really made the sound their own. There's a definitive sense that the music is solidly grounded in the timless works of Maiden, Priest and Metallica, while they've reinvigourated the melodic death sound by brining in massive slap of folk and celtic influences and alot of Blind Gaurdian/Opeth-esque accoustic intermezzos and classical guitars, magically interwoven into the maelstrom of their metallic assault. Yup, some parts of this album would have Blackmore stroking his wiskers in delight, but somehow it's pulled off without a hint of cheese or pretention. They've also got a monopoly on combining blackened death vocals with clean singing in a way that doesn't suck ( i.e. no pop choruses). I think alot of it has to do with the progressive song structures and the absence of any verse-chorus-verse-chours type songs: it keeps the vocal interplay dynamic and eventful. The resulting sound is nothing short of breathtaking, weaving a fine line between fanstasy metal, death and folk in such a wonderful way that it sounds like the genres have been together since their inception. I guess they're not too disimilar to Ensiferum, yet with more tremelo picking, a huge reduction in synths and celtric rarther then nordic melodies.
Emprise to Avalon was my first Suidakra album and certainly one of the best. It's not quite as good as The Arcanum, and it's a little bit less technical and argressive. But instead the focus of this album seems to be less is more with simple yet magestic riffs and wonderfully catchy folk leads. This album also sees more clean vocals then before and wonderful use of vocal harmoneys and choruses (i.e. the hym-like break in Highking). Darkane Times is a great opener, begining with a jaunty bass line before perfectly showcasing the seemingly inexhaustable folk-riff machine of the band. The High King is another great song, a real rocker of mid-paced grooves with some epic chants towards the end. Pendragons Fall is my favourte and pretty mch the archetpye of the album. Just listen to those unbelievably catchy lead melodies over the thrashing ryhthm guitar, the thunderous drumming, the neck destroying mid section and and you'll be banging your head like there's no tomorrow. Then when you least expect it clean singing and huge guitar harmonies uplift your ears and send shivers down your spine before plunging into another scream fest. By the time the orchestral outro brings you gently back down to earth you'll feel like you've been to Avalon and back yourself. Just so you know, I'm in my mid 20s and this still gets me air guitaring like a teenager.
To conclude, this is a wonderful album that shows an appreciation for many different genre's of metal over the decades. It's a huge, epic sound that has the magical quality of letting the listener really lose him or herself in the music and soak up the atmosphere in abundence. be warned though, there is a lot of acoustic moments on this album which may put some die hard metal heads off.
Recommended for fans of: Ensiferum, Dark tranquillity, Gates of Ishtar, In Flames, Kalmah, Skyfire, Mors Principum Est, Wintersun, Falconer, Amon Amarth, Insomnium, and melodic death in general