Echoes of Yore is the thirteenth album by SUIDAKRA, a Celtic metal band hailing from Germany. The band includes Arkadius Antonik (Vocals, Guitar), Sebastian Hintz (Clean Vocals, Guitar), Tim Siebrecht (Bass) and Ken Jensen (Drums). The album is largely based on myths and legends from the United Kingdom featuring songs about the Arthurian mythos. This is a really nice change from a lot of folk metal being based around the works of Tolkein. So before I even start on the music itself; if you want something based on a different source, material maybe give this album a try.
Additional personnel on this release are Shir-Ran Yinon (Violin), Catalina Popa-Mörck (Flute) and Bernhard Mahlmeister (French Horn). I mention these people because they are an integral to the experience of this album and so that you know what I’m talking about later on.
The album opens with Wartunes that sets the tone of what is to come. There is an opening monologue before bursting into a riff that made me think I was listening to a much heavier CHILDREN OF BODOM instead. The song then transitions into a nice acoustic break before the distortion comes back and a relatively monotone section of vocals lies above it. Being monotonous is not a bad thing in this instance. It really serves to help you imagine a great battle and having the warriors shout about it. They would not be trained musicians but instead they would be in the most dire of circumstances. For example, the instruments below are the weapons that would be flying but all that matters at that time is to communicate a message and the way this song evokes that idea is really cool.
I love it when an album has a track I can say is my definitive favourite and for this release that has to be Morrigan. The winding lead guitar in the background is very reminiscent of the jigs and reels that you find in more traditional folk music. It then develops into a blistering solo that is so perfect I can’t believe it. It features almost chant-like vocals and pounding rhythms, this is the song I will use to introduce people to this album as it encapsulates what SUIDAKRA are all about for me.
Rise of Taliesin is the part of this album that feels the most folk like. The introduction consists of soft sweeping strings layered over sparkling acoustic guitar. It feels epic and I mean that whole heartedly. I absolutely love this as a break in the heaviness of the album and the subtlety of the supporting musicians. Yinon’s violin work for example is masterfully implemented in the same way a carving on a pillar adds to the effect. Yet it is not the thing you first notice but without that carving the pillar would just seem lacking.
This release is excellent. I am very grateful that SUIDAKRA have such a large back catalogue to dive into because it means that I can recommend you not only to pick this up but also to have a look at what they’ve done in the past.
And to the guys in the band, congratulations on twenty five years!
Words: Jacob McCrone
Echoes Of Yore is out now.