Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2020
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

A sizable shift in the bard's ongoing tale. - 90%

hells_unicorn, August 29th, 2011

The notion of Suidakra being compared to the likes of Dark Tranquillity and In Flames originally struck me as odd, primarily because the comparison is only relevant insofar as it would be to other bands like Ensiferum that applied the signature cold and throaty vocal shouts to what was otherwise a far more upbeat and traditional speed/thrash oriented sound. But this notion is definitely with a fair amount of weight when considering the middle era albums, most particularly that of “Signs For The Fallen”, which is actually one of the last albums that I’ve encountered of their prolific, 17 year history. While Arkadius and his flock have been somewhat unconventional in their take on extreme metal with a folksy twist, this is an album that can be classified as very conventional if the standard is pre-2002 Gothenburg faire, but it’s also extremely good in spite of this.

The imposing figure of what appears to be an orc in full armor on the cover is both revealing and deceptive. The general darkness of the lyrics and music could lend itself to some dark tyrant in the mold of Sauron conquering the world one nation at a time, but the theme here is not nearly as specific as it was on the last two albums. In fact, minus the album’s exterior and this band’s history with overtly Celtic themes, this album could pass for a non-fantasy based melodeath album in the mold of a number of Gothenburg influenced outfits. In similar fashion, the period instruments and folk melodies have been downplayed significantly in favor of an atmospheric keyboard aesthetic that is definitely reminiscent of the colder Swedish style, alongside the more frequent employing of blurring tremolo riffs and a less thrash oriented rhythm section.

From the first to the last note played, “Signs For The Fallen” is the picture of stylistic consistency, all but casting aside the blackened and folksy character of their established sound. When hearing the droning melodic lines and dark, heavy riff work of “Revenant”, “Crown The Lost” and “Trails Of Gore”, images of “The Jester Race” and “The Gallery” immediately slip out. Perhaps the only thing that really keeps this wholly distinctive is Marcel Schoenen’s clean vocals, which sound somewhat punk oriented alongside the crunchy riff work that has replaced the acoustic period instruments. Arkadius’ vocal work has also undergone a metamorphosis towards something not all that far removed from Mikael Stanne. The instrumental interludes are more ambient than anything else, but a tiny sliver of the band’s Celtic influences slip through, particularly on “The Ember Died” and in a more melodeath variant on “When Eternity Echoes”.

The principle incentive for experiencing this era of Suidakra lay in their ability to adapt this conventional, stylized approach to their Manowar/Bathory oriented style of epic sounds. This is underscored by the very ambitious and memorable “Bound In Changes”, which does an excellent job of balancing repetition with gradual progression and showcases a solid command of atmospheric effects. It’s among the simpler albums that they’ve put out and will probably have more crossover appeal to the Gothenburg fanbase and Amon Amarth junkies than anything else under the Suidakra name. Yet at the same time, this album stands on its own as one of the better representations of melodeath in that it doesn’t overindulge most of the style’s clichés and avoids falling into the overly commercial pitfall of oversimplifying the formula at the cost of keeping things interesting. They say that the best bands will keep you guessing, and this album definitely threw some of my premises about this band for a loop.