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Suidakra were a bit enigmatic on their first studio offering, which was a somewhat flawed, but nonetheless impressive independent effort that attempted to bridge the divide between black metal and melodeath. While the results were somewhat akin to a splicing of different genre ideas together and come off a bit meandering at times, it definitely offered a taste of what would come later, which was a much more epic and stylistically harmonious sound. This sense of a varied assortment of extreme and melodic metal ideas became much clearer by 1998 when a union was formed with Last Episode for distribution, but the cult characteristics of the debut were still largely present by this point.
“Auld Lang Syne” sits somewhere between Enslaved’s “Eld” and Amon Amarth’s “The Avenger” in its blend of melodic contour and blackened folksy sentiments. The obvious theme is the now commonplace one of Viking/Celtic lore and mythology, which was not unheard of at this point but still much fresher off the press of late 80s Bathory than it is today. The production is still noticeably humble and lo-fi, while the content has taken a substantial leap forward in consistency of application. The disjointed jumps between Gorgoroth and Dark Tranquillity emulations have been reconciled into something much more unified, though still playing off of influences of both. The balladry and female vocal work has likewise been scaled back and better organized to keep things balanced and consistent.
It’s a really overused cliché, but Suidakra put forth something that can be viewed as mature sounding. The songs on here are presented in an ambitious, yet simple manner, making for an album that can play to a general audience more easily. Longer and ambitious numbers in “Hall Of Takes”, “And Another Cist Looms” and “Enticing Slumber” show a multifaceted but very formulaic approach of blending acoustic music, textbook melodeath riffing with an occasional hint of late 80s thrash, and blackened vocalizations together. The clean vocal work and keyboard usage is much more tastefully employed, and the guitar solo breaks are much more consistent and stick to a straight up approach rather than attempting to merge speed licks with implicit folk tunes.
Ultimately what makes this album superior to its predecessor is a better sense of direction, as well as a deliberate distancing away from the cult tendencies of the 2nd wave, which at this point was starting to get a little stale and overdone anyway. While still keeping the influences of said Scandinavian bands present in a subtle way, “Auld Lang Syne” could be more easily associated with a technical and progressive variant of melodeath that is a bit more enthralling than the highly repetitious counterpart found in most Gothenburg outfits. It’s a good album and deserves more of an audience, perhaps even as much as that of Equilibrium.
Originally submitted to (www.metal-observer.com) on January 22, 2011.
Hell yeah, fucking Suidakra! These guys are one of my most prized finds (I found them before hearing about them here on the crypt). Wow I sure am glad I found them, these guys just about completely own every band that plays around the same style of metal as they do. They have been around since sometime in 1994 and come from the good old country of Germany. They have seven full-length albums, including the new one Command To Charge which comes out in April of this year! They play a very unique style of melodic death metal, mixing in a bunch of folk influence as well as some black metal influences. This album, Auld Lang Syne is from back in their beginning, and is their second release.
Even though I enjoy everything about Suidakra, I had to lower the score on this album even though it is actually a damn good album because some of the songs don’t hold up to Suidakra standards and the production is not all that good. With that said, this album does not really sound any different than any of their other releases (maybe a little more black metal influence, but that’s it). Lucky enough for us Suidakra fans, they have not sold out yet like most melodic death bands, and they have stuck to the same unique style on every album. Now I’m sure some of you might say: well if they do the same thing on every album don’t they get boring? The answer is fuck no they don’t; and they don’t do the same thing on every album, each album holds its own ground as an individual.
Like I said, I did not like this album as much as some of their others (probably because they were a new band and still learning) but it was still a must have for me. There are a couple songs that are not all that good, especially the outro calm, which is a bullshit two and a half minute piano song with some wind blowing in the background. Also in a couple of the songs Arkadius Antonik (Suidakra spelled backwards) vocals do not sound all that good. There are mainly harsh blackish vocals and not very many clean vocals in this album. My favorite song on the album would have to be the 6:21 epic Enticing Slumber. What an amazing guitar intro done by Arkadius. This is one of Suidakra’s best songs, awesome guitar work with a lot of kick ass melody.
If you are a really big fan of Suidakra you might want to check this out just to hear how they sounded in the beginning, but if you are new to Suidakra I would not recommend this first, instead check out The Arcanum or better yet Signs For The Fallen.
Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com