13 Years of Celtic Wartunes

From 1997’s Lupine Essence to this years upcoming Crógacht, Germany’s Suidakra have been one of metals most consistent yet underrated acts. Whether plying Celtic/folk ish black metal as their early releases, or melodic death metal like their middle set of releases the core of Arkadius and Marcel Schoenen have forged on under the Suidakra banner for 15 years.

So, as one of the first releases on Wacken Records and pre empting Crógacht, is this CD/DVD compilation comprising of 17 audio tracks from the band’s discography, the first 4 from Lupine Essence/Lays From Afar of which were rerecorded (“Heresy”, “Sheltering Dreams”, “A Menhirs Clay”, “An Dùdlachd”) and the rest remastered for this release. Then a DVD of 8 tracks from Wacken (of course) and 9 tracks from a 2006 special acoustic set in Keil.

The audio tracks span the bands albums from Lupine Essence (“Heresy”) all the way to 2006’s Caledonia (“Highland Hills”) and all the albums in between. The tracks all benefit from the new lick of paint, especially the first four early tracks from Lupine Essence/Lays From Afar which sounded pretty rough on their first go arounds 10 years ago. From The Arcanum you get fan favorite “Wartunes” as well as “The Arcane Spell” and “Rise of Taliesin”. From the excellent return to form folk metal of Emprise to Avalon you get “Darkane Times” and “Still the Pipes are Calling”. Signs for the Fallen give us the title track and “A Visions’ Demise” while “Reap the Storm” and instrumental “Dead Mans Reel” come from, Command to Charge, an album I have yet to hear and which I gather (and based on “Reap the Storm” at least) is less Celtic and more experimental /progressive). With the remastering all the tracks blend nicely, though you can certainly tell which songs come from the band’s Celtic/folk era and which do not, and they certainly cover the bands better moments, though I would have loved to heard a remastered version of “The Fall of Tara”, still my favorite Suidakra track. Also, a teaser from Crógacht would have been a nice addition.

The first part of the DVD offers the band in fine form in front of a massive homeland Wacken 2007 crowd, albeit in the middle of the day, and the band are very good performers all clad in the same outfit and features a cover of Skyclad’s “The One Piece Puzzle” among expected tracks like “Darkane Times”, “Wartunes”, “Pendragon’s Fall” and a particularly rousing “The IXth Legion” and “Dead Mans Reel”-complete with bagpiper. The 9 track acoustic set is all artistic intimate but it serves to highlight Marcel Schoenen’s clean voice and while Arkadius is certainly the band’s driving force, Schoenen’s permanent departure from the band (he left briefly for Command to Charge), will no doubt limit the band. The between song banter in the Wacken set and the acoustic set is German, so that might be a little odd for some folks, but overall the sound on both performances is excellent-again particularly Schoenen’s whose clean vocals are spot on for the most part.

Tacked on are two video clips, one for “The IXth Legion” where the band looks mighty uncomfortable (particularly Schoenen) shirtless and pained in the middle of the woods, then suddenly switch to an empty warehouse and back. The other video is for “Forth-Clyde” is a much more lo fi, goofing around in the studio affair. There’s also handful of interviews from fans and other band members at possibly another Wacken (there’s no Schoenen) but unless you really enjoy reading subtitles while hairy Germans babble (with the exception of the hot chick conducting the last interview), it’s a pretty extraneous addition to an other wise complete and excellent package for a complete and excellent band that deserve far more attention over here in the US.

C’mon Paganfest get these guys over here for 2010 will ya?

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
January 12th, 2009


  1. Commented by: stiffy

    Such an underrated act. You gave them an excellent review Erik. They came over for Pagan Fest last year but only hit a few cities. I’d be there if they came here.

  2. Commented by: André

    They’re coming with Tyr and Alestorm this March, no?

  3. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    Indeed! Hope they come near me

  4. Commented by: ceno

    Love this band. Never heard their earlier albums but some of the later stuff is incredibly good. I hope we will also get a review of Crógacht soon.

  5. Commented by: stiffy

    Ah, yes they are coming in March! Though I am not fans of Tyr or Alestorm. Damn, could have picked a better tour. Well, for my taste anyway.

  6. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    Kansas City-march 13!!!!-ill be there-in chainmail

  7. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    Crógacht came in the mail today!

  8. Commented by: Stiffy

    Would send that to the stiffer would you?

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