Book Of Dowth
posted on 7/2011 By:
I’ve long championed and enjoyed Germany’s underrated folk-metal act Suidakra. From Lupine Essence through the shaky pure melodeath phase of Command to Charge to 2009s Crogacht, and even with the loss of Marcel Schoenen, I’ve supported Suidakra.
However, with Suidakra album number ten, it appears my love may be waning. Not that the Book of Dowth is a bad album or that I don’t enjoy it, it’s just that the spark has gone and Suidakra seems to have finally entered the "treading water" phase of their career. There’s no doubt that this is a Suidakra album, filled with well-produced, hard-charging melodic death metal with folky pacing, Celtic themes, pipes and a mix of clean and gruff vocals. Intro “Over Nine Waves” and opener “Dowth 2059” signal all of this to well-versed fans. But the whole album (and maybe those that own the prior 9 efforts can attest to this) finally seems a little recycled.
Casual or new fans may certainly enjoy Book of Dowth, as like I said: It's solid, with all the elements that made Suidakra so alluring 10+ years ago. But for me, I can’t really say that any single moment of any track on the album commands my attention, and I’ve heard virtually all of these songs before. You get the bouncy, up-beat “Battle Cairns”, a couple of more folky numbers by way of the female-sung “Biróg's Oath" (whoever the female vocalist here actually does a great job, though) and the acoustic dio of "Mag Mell" and “Otherworlds Collide”.
The rest of the album is filled out with more urgent thrashers (“The Dark Mound”, “Fury Fororaigh”) and the rousing, thrashing mid-paced marches (“Balor”). And when the song that actually doesn’t sound like Suidakra or feature either of the main frontmen on vocals (“Biróg's Oath") ends up being the album’s most memorable song, that’s a problem. After “Mag Mel”, the album just sort of runs in place with a likeable, consistent-but-formulaic rehashing of Suidakra’s familiar sound. Enjoyable enough admittedly, but as I seem to keep stating, not enough to make me revisit this album over anything else they’ve done. Quite honestly, nothing really gets my blood pumping.
I’m trying not to come across as overly sour on Book of Dowth. It’s an okay album and ultimately a Suidakra album that I’ll purchase. I guess I’ve just come to expect more from Suidakra over the years, and 10 albums in, I’m just not as excited about them as I was as recently as one album ago.
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