Book Of Dowth
25 March 2011
by Tom Dare
After nine albums in their fourteen years of releasing, SuidAkrA show no sign of slacking off. Instead, they continue to forge on down the rain-swept Hibernian path they have carved out for themselves with tenth album Book Of Dowth in striking fashion.
If the wealth of bands taking inspiration from the sounds of Celtic folk has led to the territory becoming rather cluttered in recent years, the Gothenburg-inspired realms are positively full up to the rafters. But amongst the bands that sit in the overlap between those two stylistic leanings, SuidAkrA have two key advantages. First, they were doing the whole folk thing before it was popular or self-parodying – before the warpainted gimmickery and disco covers came along – and so have always had a less twee and more genuine feel to them. Secondly, they still have fresh ideas and classy songs to back it up.
Book Of Dowth may be suffused with minor key leads and coated with the shiny production style rampant in modern metal, but it avoids the pitfalls many such labels fall into. The riffs and lead guitar melodies are memorable and uplifting, and the obvious reference points can be overlooked. But on top of this, there’s a far more savage and unbridled feel underpinning the melodic aspect than the generic shiny hordes. The use of the folk instruments is restrained and effective, and this further helps the music stand out. SuidAkrA are a metal band who incorporate folk into proceedings, and when the acoustic notes ring out they compliment more strongly than if they were ever present.
Watch the video to ‘Dowth 2059’ by SuidAkrA:
On the whole, the two aspects (the modern metal and the history-weighted folk) blend seemlessly, the only exception being the rather glaringly out of place vocals on “Biróg’s Oath”. The melodies and composition are strong, but the clean female singing sounds totally incongruous, an utterly modern delivery on an ancient tune – somewhat akin to Lady Gaga singing “Auld Lang Syne” in the style of “Bad Romance”.
Other than that singular misstep however, Book Of Dowth both succeeds in its fusion of styles and does so with an array of ballsy and mournful melodies arranged into some truly fine songs. SuidAkrA may have been around for bloody ages, but it’s been a fair while since they released anything as strong as this. That a band on their tenth release can deliver such a thoroughly enjoyable and and vivacious as this is highly impressive.
Sounds like: Eluveitie, Dark Tranquillity
Top tracks: Dowth 2059, Stone Of The Seven Suns, Fury Fomoraigh
SuidAkrA – Book Of Dowth tracklisting:
Over Nine Waves
The Dark Mound
Stone Of The Seven Sons