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...It's just really fucking good. - 96%

Empyreal, March 16th, 2009

You know those times when you hear a new album for the first time and you go 'wow,' and the same effect is replicated with the second listen, too? It doesn't happen often, especially with the slow decline of many of the metal genre's so-called legendary bands, so imagine the eyebrows that were raised upon hearing Germany's Suidakra - and more specifically their sixth album Signs for the Fallen - for the first time earlier this year. Melodic Death that actually had some real kicking energy, innovative power and lasting longevity? I thought such a thing was impossible, but Suidakra damn well proved me wrong with this one.

A lot of the times this doesn't even sound like what you'd associate with Melodic Death Metal. It doesn't languish excessively in fluttery keyboards or plod along with turgid atmospheric sections, or try too hard to come off as dark or insightful. No, aside from the obvious aesthetic differences, Suidakra are a tried-and-true Heavy Metal behemoth, with riff constructions that dive and weave and soar and punch in a melodic, aggressive fashion that calls upon classic 80s influences as much as it does modern Death/Folk ones. Where on previous recordings they were more out-and-out folksy and tribal, with riffs that sort of bounced along in a metallic way to the folk backdrop, here they blow open the gates with huge, heavy as Hell riffage, with the folk influence sort of taking a backseat - a much appreciated gesture, I think, allowing for more dynamic and aggression in the music. The guitar tone is noticeably more modern, but that's a good thing here. Listening to their past efforts, it was pretty clear that this was a band too talented to stick to the same formula over and over again; the more happy, bouncy style (but still aggressive enough) that they had been developing. They hit a real smooth stride with Emprise to Avalon the year previous, and after that they just had to change style - there was nowhere else to take their previous one.

Every song on here is pretty much on the same level of quality. That is to say, they are all absolutely stellar, with frontman Arkadius churning out crunchy, thick True Metal-influenced riffs barbed with hooks flying at you like daggers in an Asian martial arts movie, while the rapid-fire drumming of Lars Wehner pounds through the backdrop - and let me say something about the drumming before I move onto anything else. Mr. Wehner does a commendable job here, with his visceral, bloodthirsty drumming really giving the music an extra dose of manic energy, and making the band sound even more like they're about to rip your throat out and feed it to you. Which, I suppose, would end up sliding right out through the gaping hole in your neck that was just torn.

Arkadius' guitar-work...well, it goes without saying that it's great, being Arkadius, who is honestly one of the best modern metal guitarists out there these days. He has an unmistakable style, very urgent and commanding, like every note he plays might be the last one he could ever play in his life. The folk influence is still here, giving a foreign bounce to most of the riffs here, but as I said before, it is less pronounced. Even then, though, these riffs are like nothing else you've ever heard. The songs on here are all lushly constructed, going through several different tempo changes and different riffs, always remaining interesting and compelling no matter what. Songs like "Dimorphic," "Trails of Gore" and the excellent opener "Revenant" explode with subtle technicality and metallic triumph, skipping along with relative ease and smashing ear-drums everywhere - a most pleasant way to go out, I'd say! The eight minute "Bound in Changes" is the real crown jewel here, though, as it does what the other songs do except for much longer, and, as the natural laws of reality would have you believe, it is that much more pleasurable.

Suidakra are a world class band that doesn't get near the amount of attention they need. In a just world, this band would be leading the extreme metal front by the nose, right up there with underground gems like The Chasm and Intestine Baalism. In a just world, they would be praised rightfully for their great work, and be elevated to demi-godhood for Signs of the Fallen in particular, which is as good as the metal genre gets. Melodic, aggressive, passionate and creative, Suidakra have served up a hot slice of victory for the true metal front, and any fan of the genre needs this immediately. So go get it.