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Review: Suidakra - Crogacht

Label: SPV
Year released: 2009
Duration: 41:16
Tracks: 9
Genre: Death Metal

Rating: 5/5

Review online: February 9, 2009
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating

Rated 4/5 (80%) (22 Votes)

One of my most anticipated albums this year, Crogacht is the ninth full-length from German Folk/Death band Suidakra. This band produced the stellar one-two punch of Emprise To Avalon in 2002 and Signs For The Fallen in 2003 before going a bit off the rails with the more experimental and less folky Command To Charge. 2006 brought Caledonia and a return to form, but while that album tried hard, it did not quite live up to past masterworks. Now we have Crogacht (Gaelic for 'Valor') and a rebirth of this great band with a real first-rate album.

After atmospheric opener "Slan" we get into the meat of this album with the hammering riffs of "Conlaoch" that signal that everything is once again right with Suidakra. Caledonia was melodic and folky but lacked aggression. That is not a problem here, as Crogacht successfully blends Celtic atmosphere and melodies with a visceral, face-ripping guitar attack. The album just blazes forth with one ass-kicker after another, right through "Isle Of Skye", "Scathach", and the crowning moment of awesome, the brutally melodic "Shattering Swords". Suidakra break things up here and there with more melodic influences, like the clean-chanted break in the middle of "Isle Of Skye" and the acoustic song "Feats Of War" sung by guest vocalist Tina Stabel. Amazingly, they never lose track of either the Celtic Folk melodies or the crunching brutality, and they mix them better here than maybe they ever have. The entire disc is a concept album about Cu Chulainn, the central Irish hero, and his studies to become a warrior with the help of his martial instructor Scathach — the warrior-woman of the Isle of Skye. Kris Verwimp, artist extraordinaire, not only provided the lavish art and design for the album, but apparently wrote the excellent lyrics as well. Kris is probably the greatest fantasy artist alive right now, and his involvement kicks this whole work up a notch.

The production is stellar, with clarity and heaviness and a shield-splitting guitar tone than keens every riff to a razor's edge. Arkadius' harsh vocals are more convincing than usual, if not extraordinary, but they are not the reason we love this band. We love Suidakra for the crunching assault of Celtic War Metal we get on their best works, and this easily ranks up with their best, in fact I think "Shattering Swords" may be one of the best two or three songs they have ever written. If you wrote this band off after their last few albums, then trust me, this is as good as Signs For The Fallen. If you have never heard this band, then that is something to remedy, as with this disc Suidakra step into the very first rank. A must-have album.

Other related information on the site
Review: 13 Years of Celtic Wartunes (reviewed by Pagan Shadow)
Review: Auld Lang Syne (reviewed by ShadowsFall)
Review: Book of Dowth (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: Caledonia (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Command To Charge (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: Crogacht (reviewed by Pagan Shadow)
Review: Echoes of Yore (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Emprise to Avalon (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Eternal Defiance (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Lays From Afar (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Realms of Odoric (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Signs For The Fallen (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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