Review Summary: A Celtic-soaked debut for a german melodic death metal band with a few twists to their sound.
When German melodic death metal band Suidakra
formed in 1994 – then under the moniker Gloryfication
– the humble beings of the fusion of melodic, sweeping death metal and Celtic/folk influences begin to emerge. The band eventually settled on the current name – the name “Arkadius”, founding member and guitarist Arkadius Antonik spelled backwards – and began work on their full-length debut offering. 1997’s Lupine Essence
lays down a pretty strong foundation for Suidakra’s
musical direction, seemingly a swirling combination of Black Metal, Gothenburg-influenced Melodic Death Metal, Folk Metal, and even Celtic Metal – something this band introduced me to. Their work is truly something to be admired; though its true form would not culminate until future releases.
The album is pretty consistent, and its variety has an ability to hold onto the listener. An unfortunate downside to the disc is in the production, but this is understandable as the band produced it themselves. One can only imagine just how great a debut this would have been had the band been backed by the power of a record label, but this was enough to land that for future outings. Lupine Essence’s
strength lies in the underground popularity it garnered for the band, and the launching point that it served as. The tracks on the disc aren’t as particular catchy as material found on later work, but there are some gems kicking around in here. The album starts with a stormy beginning that turns to a melodic approach to a black metal sound in Banshee
. This isn’t to say this is exact black metal to a science, more the fact that the vocals possess a shrill shriek on these early recordings. Strong melodies create a nice backdrop to the album, with a style somewhat reminiscent of Amon Amarth’s
Viking infatuation – in this case a Celtic source instead. Dragon Tribe
is a decent offering, with some pretty infectious drumming and riffage to it. The harsh vocals are somewhat aided by the opposite gender in Heresy
and Sheltering Dreams
, though whether or not one can get behind the track probably depends on personal preference to clean female vocals with death/black growls. There is still more than enough melody in these tracks though, and this definitely helps to carry the overall momentum of the album. The true Celtic influence really gathers in the aptly titled Warpipes Call Me
, where clean vocals are utilized with a folk quality. This style follows suit into the tranquil instrumental …and a Minstrel
If anything this album leaves the listener wanting more, but in a more refined, higher quality format. This is exactly what someone looking into this band would get with future releases, though this is a pretty important step in Suidakra’s
career and deserves some recognition for the groundwork it lays down.