Review Summary: SuidAkrA's sophomore outing further explores the multitude of influences of the band, and finds them slowly finding the right production for their unique sound.
Picking up the banner of their debut effort, German Melodic Death Metal/Folk/Celtic Metal act SuidAkrA returns with their sophomore follow up a year later. Auld Lang Syne
builds off the foundation of 1997’s Lupine Essence
, further exploring the band’s fascination with pagan-laced lyrics and folk/Celtic influences weaving their way in and out of a refreshing take on the Melo-death style. Sadly, like with their debut outing, Auld Lang Syne
suffers from sub-par production and the lack of proper label support. Though this is the first disc by the band to have an actual producer (in Last Episode Productions) they would go on to complain of the quality themselves, seeking other help for future discs. Nonetheless, the production here is a little tighter than the self-produced debut and the music only gets better from this point on.
The compositions sound like glory-soaked anthems of battle – think Amon Amarth with the Viking imagery replaced by that of Pagans and Celts. The disc opens with the folky instrumental title-track, pushing on quickly to the death metal opener Hall of Tales
. Though the first track fits nicely with the album’s general theme and direction, the second track doesn’t have much to dissect, feeling like the most forced on the record. This is just a brief stumble, however, as A Menhirs Clay
really showcases the band’s sound while exploring a bit of progressive and classic rock styles. This proves to be a fresh take on the Melodic Death genre and is something the band has attached to their music. And Another Cist Looms
follows in this vein, though doesn’t seem to carry the same level of excitement as the previous track. The predisposition to a Celtic folk sound comes alive in the cleanly sung An Dúdlachd
, interrupting the warlike feel of the rest of the record. This doesn’t last long, as the marching feel of Tuatha Dé Danaan
brings listeners back to the battlefront rather abruptly. The really nice thing about the progression of SuidArkA’s sound is the heavy addition of keyboards. This creates a wider backdrop for their epic song-structures and even brightens an otherwise dark feeling soundscape. A true culmination of the band’s influences can be found much easier on this album than the last, perhaps showcased best in A Menhirs Clay
and the album’s final tracks, The Fall of Tara
and the fantastically catchy Enticing Slumber
This band’s concoction of the Gothenburg-borne Melodic Death Metal style with raw Celtic Folk – typically trademarked within the same composition – is a joy to listen to a real refreshment. Despite picking on the production of this album, it isn’t hard to tell how far this band has come within the span of a year, showcasing their ability to evolve without leaving behind their roots. Auld Lang Syne
is a brilliant step forward, and perhaps a better launching ground for SuidAkrA’s true sound than their debut offering.