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Album Reviews : Suidakra– Crógacht

By on June 29, 2009

09_crogachtCrógacht (the the Irish Gaelic word for “bravery”), Suidakra‘s ninth studio album, is a concept album based around the story of Aided Óenfhir Aofe, or The Death of Aoífe’s Only Son, one the most dramatic tales in Irish folklore.

Aided Óenfhir Aoífe is the story about the legendary hero Cuchulainn who, seeking to learn the art of war, makes the journey to the Isle of Skye in Alba (Scotland), to the abode of the Scythian warrior woman Scáthach. Cuchulainn convinced Scáthach that he was worthy of receiving her training. Scáthach made a promise to Cuchulainn that she would instruct him in the arts of war for a year and a day.

During Cuchulainn’s training, Scáthach, faced with a battle against her sister Aoífe (who was  seeking revenge against Scáthach over the death of her lover), did not want Cuchulainn to participate so she drugged him with a powerful sleeping potion, which had little effect. Cuchulainn was soon awake and joined the battle, which in its final moments, Cuchulainn seized Aoífe and spared her life on the condition that she would end her enmity with her sister and that she would stay with him and bear him a son, Conlaoch. The decisions Cuchulainn then has to make sets events in motion that lead up to Conlaoch’s tragic fate.

Overall, Crógacht is a faithful re-telling of an epic story through epic music. The opening track, Sln, has a majestic feel to it, and maintains that feel throughout. Guest female vocals appear on the tracks Scáthach and Shattering Swords, adding the essence of Scáthach’s and Aoífe’s presence in the story.

Overall, the whole album has an epic feel in much the same way as the film score to Peter Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings. Considering Lord Of The Rings won Academy Awards for Best Music (original score), this speaks volumes about Suidakra‘s songwriting ability and Kris Verwimp’s skills as a lyricist. Suidakra‘s sound has evolved over the years, the heavier Celtic influence more evident in their last three albums (Crógacht included), setting their sound apart from other folk-inspired metal bands. For too long, Suidakra have been virtually unknown in Australia, and are deserving of a following here as strong as Amon Amarth‘s.

The digipak version of Crógacht has a bonus CD-ROM feature, the video clip for Shattering Swords.

Although we are only halfway through the year, Crógacht would have to be the best folk metal album for 2009. 9.5/10

Band: Suidakra
Album: Crógacht
Year: 2009
Genre: Folk/Celtic Metal
Label: SPV/Riot! Entertainment
Origin:  Germany
www.myspace.com/suidakra

Tracklisting:

1.    Sln
2.    Conlaoch
3.    Isle of Skye <-Reviewer’s Choice
4.    Scáthach
5.    Feats of War <- Reviewer’s Choice
6.    Shattering Swords
7.    Ór Nase Fola
8.    Gilded Oars
9.    Baile’s Strand <- Reviewer’s Choice

Reviewed by: Megan Masters