They have the might to tell forbidden tales of Irish mythology forged from fire and blood. They've lasted for several years with consistent release after consistent release and managed to keep their music uniquely fresh. They make you jig and drink Irish beer regardless of your heritage. They are Suidakra: influenced by folk, epic like a soaring eagle, and death metal crusaders. "Crógacht" marks the ninth full-length release from this German quartet, and is quite possibly their finest stand as a faction. There isn't any rational reason to deny how amazing and spellbinding the marksmanship of Suidakra is through the group's rich exploration of death metal, melody, and Celtic folk music, which at this point demonstrates a unique three-part junction that leads to heavy metal Valhalla, indeed.
Suidakra's ritual of new material is typically a volcanic cloud of fire that consumes all the mediocre groups chugging around melodic death metal with unnecessary fluff or basic death metal bands bastardizing themselves with recycled blueprints; instead, Suidakra beats them at their own games. Perhaps the sole association of melodic death metal is the feathery, powerless result of flexing both qualities into a metaphorical sandwich, but Suidakra adds an ocean of life-sized heaviness to licks plastered in melodic influence with sharp, cutting riffs, beautiful melodies, and moving harmonies of mountainous size. While not an atypical quality among Suidakra, I'm just wondering how these riffs and melodies surpass the band's previous releases with such ease. Arkadius once again gives a stellar vocal performance with a collection of earth-shaking growls and screams that scorch trees like paper, which are wonderful additions to Suidakra's overall bloodline, but who would have thought his clean voice is as impressive? The guy fits into everything this group creates whether he's shouting, singing, shredding, whatever; there aren't any limits to Arkadius' talents.
The record itself is also a massive expedition of artistic achievement on many levels instead of using basic extreme metal tactics as a mercy-word. "Crógacht" is an anomaly among Suidakra's discography because although the band has always dabbled in Celtic folk music, they've never been so deeply submerged in the identity, going so far into it that bagpipes, banjos, keyboards, acoustics, and a plethora of folk-laden ideas are common at every given turn, which are a fitting placement for the melodic assault commonly hacking throughout "Crógacht." Something such as "Feats of War" is easily one of the album's finest slabs even though it is only a folk jam led by female vocals; it's an example of Suidakra's infinite brilliance as a poetic squad and not just a barrage of great instrumentation.
It's kind of a given that the sound quality appears as if every German worldwide recorded a guitar part with all these overlapping harmonies, but don't let that turn you off. Everything strikes in massive and exploding color with a montage of divinity and violence, colliding in mid-air, shattering, and then reconnecting in awesome craftsmanship. Lars Wehner's drumming acts ravenous during Suidakra's vehement, epic travel of floating islands yet dramatically morphs into a subtle beat as Arkadius' soldiers allow the folk seeds to bloom with a soft, echoing snare that rolls on and on with an excellent sound overall. The keyboards, too, are a central focus of "Crógacht" that, unlike a number of other bands in this state, contribute a vast amount of atmosphere and content throughout Suidakra's majestic voyage. It really makes me ask the burning question: Can Suidakra cure Captain Tripps? Well, something did, right?
This record is beyond a great piece of work, but brilliant art by a band incapable of wrongdoings. The Suidakra banner has been through highs and lows, of that I have no doubt, yet still they march on and produce phenomenal work that goes unsurpassed compared to the status-quo of similar kin. I've spent a very long time listening to "Crógacht" back and forth, up and down, and side to side, and still haven't found a reason to put it away. Nothing here is meant to be missed by anyone, my word.