|Review: Suidakra - Caledonia|
Label: Armageddon Music
Year released: 2006
Genre: Folk Metal
Review online: November 22, 2006
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
This was an album I was really looking forward to, as it was supposed to be a return to form for Suidakra. With Emprise To Avalon and Signs For The Fallen this band produced two excellent albums, and despite a slip with Command To Charge, Caledonia was supposed to see them getting back in the groove. Well, they have returned to the style the used on their best works, but the spark just isn't there this time.
For the uninitiated, Suidakra play a blend of Melodic Death and Folk Metal in their own high-octane style. Their last album largely ditched the folk riffs and the pagan/celtic themes they have always used, and the fans didn't like it at all, so they announced early on that Caledonia would get back to the folklore themes and folk-influenced riffs that their fan base wanted anyway. And true, this album is very folky – maybe more so than any other album of theirs has been – so what exactly is the problem? The problem is simply this: no aggression, no energy, no fire. There are some beautiful melodies on this disc, and as always some great guitar playing, but you keep waiting for this album to get off its ass and kick yours, and it never really does. Signs For The Fallen was melodic, and folky, but it was also fast and heavy, almost brutal in its riff-attack. Caledonia is very laid-back, and the songs are mostly at the same mid-paced marching speed. The few places where the band speeds up here are perfunctory, like they don't really mean it. I kept waiting for the furious cascade of killer riffs to kick in, but I waited in vain.
Caledonia is at times smartly and beautifully melodic, and the celtic folk sound is all over the place, but the album has no visceral impact, and never hammers you with the precise speed and metrical complexity that I wanted out of it. This is a solid disc, but it remains largely uninspired, and never really catches fire like past albums have. A step in the right direction for sure, but far, far less than this band is capable of. A disappointment.
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