SuidAkrA
Caledonia


4.0
excellent

Review

by rasputin USER (196 Reviews)
December 5th, 2007 | 37 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Imagine if William Wallace had made a metal album. This would be it.

Suidakra is Arkadius backwards. Pretty neat, huh? So after my astonishment I googled the word ‘Arkadius’, and found out that it’s the name of a Polish fashion designer. Wait, what? That can’t be right. So I continued my search. On further inspection, I realized that Arkadius is the name of the harsh vocalist/guitarist of the band. That’s much better. Here’s another cool fact about Suidakra for you: they formed in 1994, released a demo in 1995, and then a total of 8 albums between 1997 and 2006. That’s almost an album every year, and if any of them are as good as the last release, then I’ve truly found an amazing band. Caledonia is the name of their last release, unleashed upon us in November of 2006. I actually hadn’t heard of this band until a few months ago, and I’m astounded to why. Combining melodic death metal with folk and Celtic music, they have a truly unique sound. I have never listened to an album quite like Caledonia. I say ‘melodic death’ with caution though, as Caledonia has a lot more of the ‘melodic’ rather than the ‘death’. The closest thing to death metal on this album is the harsh vocals, but they are firstly not very harsh, and secondly they are not more frequent than the clean vocals. This probably has to do with the fact that there are two vocalists, Arkadius doing the harsh and the other guitarist Marcel Schoenen doing the clean. This makes it very balanced, vocally. It’s also hard to distinguish between the two vocalists; you could get away thinking the same person did the vocals for the entire album.

Upon first listening to Caledonia, the Celtic influence was immediately apparent. Even within the first 15 seconds of the album, we’re treated to storm-soaked, wailing bagpipes, before a small acoustic interlude paves the way for the beginning of the epic Highland Hills. A very Celtic sounding melodic lead guitar plays over rolling drums, and sets the scene for the entire album. As opposed to actual riffs, the songs are all very lead guitar based, somewhat similar to the style of The Gallery from Dark Tranquillity. Other than that, there is a great deal of acoustic songs and passages, such as The Ember Died (Part 2). It’s a beautiful song which sounds very much like a traditional Celtic acoustic piece. Marcel even sounds Scottish on it.

Travail´s turn brang me tae many a place
An´ all this wimplen´ way
Yont the lee lang nicht
Oh I mind on the days lang begane


I don’t doubt that Marcel went out of his way to put on the Scottish accent, and this might lead to some people thinking it’s a lame idea, but I thought it was done well.

The vocals are quite varied, and very much dependant on the music that is behind it. The Ember Died (Part 2) has very soft vocals, melodic and somber. Other than that, the vocals switch between a forceful yet melodic shout, and then to the harsh vocals, which are sort of mid to high pitched and very well-done. The closest comparison I could think of for the harsh vocals was Anders Fridén on Whoracle, although I think Arkadius is much better than Fridén (I’m not a fan of Fridén). None of the vocal styles really dominates, which adds to the diversity of the album. Some of the highlights of the album are when both vocalists sing together, such as on the track Forth-Clyde.

I had known the band originated in Germany before I listened to them, but I was surprised at how much of a Celtic influence was in their music. One could easily think of the band to be from Scotland. Even the lyrical themes surrounding the album are completely associated with Scottish history. Taken from a review on Metal Observer, ‘…[Caledonia is] a concept album about the Picts, a tribe that had inhabited what is now Scotland, and their fight against the oncoming Roman legions…’ (http://www.metal-observer.com/articles.php?lid=1&sid=1&id=11507). I’m curious as to why this band of Germans has such a fascination with Scottish history. Nonetheless, they do a very convincing job. The lyrical style is similar to that of Amon Amarth, telling the story through verses of honour, glory, and battle.

It's slowly coming into sight
I prepared to fight
With giant leaps it came upon me
To chain my body
To blaze a trail
Through my valour
To take my gods and my freedom away


The musicianship on the album is very strong; each member provides a unique sound to the overall style. The rhythm section is very well-done, especially the drums, which are both varied and inventive. The bass is not drowned out, and is audible throughout the album. As mentioned before, the album uses a forceful lead guitar more so than standard melodic death riffs. This is not to say there aren’t any in the album, the start of Forth-Clyde is very typical melodic death. Nonetheless, the guitars shine on the album. Each melody is very appealing, and all of them have that Celtic touch which makes this album very worthwhile to listen to.
Furthermore, I thought that the production on the album was very nicely done too, with each instrument and the vocals being readily audible in the mix. The one complaint I have is that there are some sections where the guitar could have been made a little louder, as the bass and drums, especially the bass, take the emphasis away from the guitar melodies. Still, that’s a minor fault. Overall the production suited the instruments nicely.

I enjoyed Caledonia very much. It isn’t groundbreaking, but I thought it was excellent. This may be due to a soft spot I have for Celtic music, or because Suidakra are different than a lot of bands I have been listening to lately. However, they deserve all four stars I’ve given. I’d recommend this to anyone who likes The Pogues, The Dropkick Murphys, Celtic music, Amon Amarth, or melodic death in general. Plus, the album artwork is very cool :).



Recent reviews by this author
Hoax HoaxHakaristi Hakaristi
Burial Invocation Rituals of the GrotesqueEibon Entering Darkness
Abe Sada / Sub Ordnance Redux / Organ GrinderIron Lung/Mind Eraser/HS/Scapegoat Brutal Supremacy
user ratings (44)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
rasputin
December 5th 2007


14544 Comments


I don't think this is my best review, it seems sort of boring. But that might just be me. Criticism is welcome.

Willie
Moderator
December 5th 2007


15976 Comments


The criticism is in the vote.... ;) This site has caused me to spend so much more money then I would have without it. I'll have to add this to my list of stuff to check out (although I'm trying to go through all the Post Rock that people suggested right now).

Caledonia is the name of their last release, unleashed upon us in November of 2006.
Why are all other types of music "released" to the the public except for Metal which always seems to be "unleashed" on the public??? Just curious...

Digging: Necropoli - I

rasputin
December 5th 2007


14544 Comments


hahaha, you raise an excellent point. I suppose it has to do with the fact a lot of metal is like a caged and rabid animal, that's unleashed upon us
And who cares about the money, is there anything more important than CDs? :P I'm going to Germany for 3 months for exchange, leaving on Tuesday, and I'll be sure to buy a whole heap of CDs. I need to buy this one even, I've only got a burnt copy, but I really want the original as the album cover just makes me giddy.This Message Edited On 12.05.07

rasputin
December 5th 2007


14544 Comments


I think I've also realised why I think the review is boring. It's pretty much got a very similar structure to all my other reviews, and written in a very similar style. And that's probably only really apparent to me as I wrote all of them, other readers wouldn't really notice.

Willie
Moderator
December 5th 2007


15976 Comments


So, maybe you'll find some obscure music while in Germany. If nothing else you could get the new "Die Krupps" best of CD.
When I started to feel like my reviews were beginning to fit a pattern I just started writing about things other then just metal... it forces you to change how you approach a review cause different styles of music require different focuses and descriptions.

rasputin
December 5th 2007


14544 Comments


yeah I've done that in the last few reviews, did a Nirvana review and then a Distillers one, but I suppose I should do more. I'll probably have a chance to do that on exchange as I won't be getting as much music as I would be at home, so I'll have to go through what I already have. I want to do a classical review, I tried that a few weeks ago but failed and just deleted it. Might give it another go sometime.

Oblivioncry
December 5th 2007


601 Comments


the first paragraph is weird to read. it seems hasty.

anyway the album pretty much sounds like any other suidakra album. (which is good^^)

if you haven't heard other albums by suidakra check out 'arcanum' and 'Emprise To Avalon'

rasputin
December 5th 2007


14544 Comments


what do you mean by hasty?
and thanks, I'll try and get my hands on them.

jrowa001
December 5th 2007


8750 Comments


i used to have this, but i think i deleted it. from what i remember it wasnt that great but it had some cool moments

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
December 5th 2007


3768 Comments


it wasnt that great but it had some cool moments


Correct for Suidakra's entire discography.

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

rasputin
December 5th 2007


14544 Comments


Aw, it's not that bad. I read somewhere this is their best album, but I haven't listened to any of the others.

Thor
December 5th 2007


10191 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I wouldn't rate it this high, but it's still a good album. Forth Clyde and The Distant Call are pretty sweet.

Crimson
December 5th 2007


1935 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Coolies, just got this album a few days ago, 'tis good.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
December 5th 2007


16390 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

So much melodic death.... so little cash....

Digging: Spectral Lore - III

Crimson
December 5th 2007


1935 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Oh, you'd like this Crysis :D

BallsToTheWall
December 5th 2007


44373 Comments


Thing I love about Metal is the artwork. For the most part, it's pretty sick, this no exception. A Blackened Shield pwns, and just found this for 5 off amazon so going to buy this. Solid review again. Damn catchy tune is that song.

Digging: Pharmakon - Abandon

Slaytan
December 5th 2007


1186 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well done reznor. I must say, I really enjoy reading your reviews. I'll have to check this out.

rasputin
December 5th 2007


14544 Comments


Cheers guys, thanks for the votes. That's a good price Balls, definitely get it.

rasputin
December 5th 2007


14544 Comments


I've also changed the Summary, made it a little more witty.

Grumma
January 15th 2008


15 Comments


The rhythm section is very well-done, especially the drums, which are both varied and inventive.


you aren't a drummer are you :p

not sure what his name is but he pretty much either uses a blast or a beat varying off "bum-ta" throughout the album.
not that there's anything wrong with that but yeah, not exactly inventive so to speak



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy