So, for those that may not be familiar with the band Suidakra, they are a German trio(quartet for live shows) that play music reminiscent of Scandinavian Melodic-Death Metal and Black Metal and have an affinity for Celtic lore along with the music of the Celts and they do an excellent job of bringing all those elements together. Since their first album they have been constantly pushing their sound forward and refining themselves with just a couple bumps in the road. Their tenth album, Book of Dowth, is where they stand today and it is a culmination of all the hard work and progress they have shown in their musical career.

Along with many of their previous albums, this one tells a sci-fi/fantasy tale based around Celtic lore. In the near future an archeological excavation unearths an ancient tome. An archeological student at the site curiously opens the book and begins to read it. As he is reading the book does some crazy stuff like deteriorating and releasing odd odors and then the student starts to hallucinate and have visions. In his visions he learns of an ancient demon race bent on destroying mankind and the story how mankind sealed them into the book he is reading which he has now opened and unleashed the ancient demons upon the world.

So, cool concept, check. But how does the music hold up. Well, it holds up great. On Book of Dowth you will hear a style that is steeped in Melodic Death Metal. But Melo-Death isn’t the only trick up Suidakra‘s sleeve. The whole album is peppered with folk instruments such as highland bagpipes here and there and lots of Celtic sounding melodies. The guitar leads are reminiscent of a lead style comparable to Blind Guardian while the rhythm section adds a heavier edge to them. While the album is largely a metal ordeal, Suidakra throws a couple curve balls that really help add depth and variety to the album. About at the halfway point you come across a song entitled “Biróg’s Oath” where Arkadius Antonik takes a step away from vocal duties and lets guest singer Tina Stabel take over. She gives an astonishing performance on this song and gives it a more profound energy and heavier Celtic feel. The following song, “Mag Mell” is also to note as it is has a mellow Celtic acoustic guitar melody and wonderful singing. Ms. Stabel returns again for this track as a second vocalist and instead of her powerful voice from the preceding track she utilizes a low scratchy haunting style of singing that give the feeling of a whispering ghost.

Those two songs aren’t the only highlights on the album. The opening instrumental “Over Nine Waves” is a powerful metal and bagpipe ordeal that will definitely get you hyped up and headbanging as it seamlessly transitions into the rapid paced, hard hitting first single of the album “Dowth 2059”. “The Dark Mound”, “Balor”, and “Stone of the Seven Suns” show the band have mastery over creating great vocal and musical melodies that stick to your bones. “Battle-Cairns” and “Fury Fomoraigh” highlight Suidakra‘s more brutal side, but while remaining brutal they still don’t ever lose the great sense of melody that they maintained on all the other songs on the album. The instrumental “Otherworlds Collide” brings Book of Dowth out to a perfect close as it soothes you out of all the glorious metal you have just heard.

The only flaws that I can find within Book of Dowth are small. The vocals and rhythm guitars at times seem to be mixed rather high and cover up the excellent lead guitars underneath them, a problem that can be solved rather well with a quick tweak of the EQ. My other nit-pick is at times the rhythm section can get a bit repetitious overusing the speedy double picking a bit much and for too long, but ultimately that didn’t detract my enjoyment from the album much and is only a minor nit-pick in the grand scheme of things.

If you are a fan of the Melodic Death Metal and Folk Metal I highly recommend checking out Book of Dowth as they are rising further as being one of the best in the sub-genres. For fans of Suidakra this is a must buy as it is one of their best albums. In the end I had a blast listening to this album, the variety of the songs and the infectious melodies kept me engaged from beginning to end and I will be enjoying this excellent Celtic Metal album many more times and look forward to what the guys of Suidakra will bring us in the future.

P.S. For CD buyers, check out the Special Edition of Book of Dowth, along with the excellent artwork presented a bit larger on the digipack form you get two bonus songs of a couple earlier tracks (“Rise Of Taliesin” and “When Eternity Echoes”) re-imagined and rearranged into classical orchestral songs. A really cool treat for long time fans. And for those who own the album you can check out the bands website for a deeper look into the story behind the lyrics(Click Here).