SuidAkrA – The Book of Dowth by Jo Blackened

Rating 4/5

It’s always puzzled me why it’s always the Germans who sing about Scotland. Perhaps the Jocks just don’t give a shit and sing about the Aztec traditions, who in turn sing about the fuedal rites of Madagascar.
Either way, The Book of Dowth has arrived on our shores and is gearing up to tear you a new one. In a folk kind of way.

As Alex Skolnick once said, “bagpipes are totally metal!”. Over Nine Waves crashes into life as a bedrock of guitars pound over the haunting bagpipe melody before Dowth 2059 roars into life in a firey deluge of brutality. Those who liked the stronger elements of folk instruments in Crógacht will feel completely at home with some of the slower and melodic tracks on offer, while those who bathed in the more death style of the older albums will revel in Balor, with it’s unrelenting double kick and harmonies that scratch across your spine.

Suprisingly, there are a number of soft moments on what is allegedly a melo-death album (cue cries of selling out from those with single digit IQs). Biróg’s Oath takes a female lead, and although it sounds disturbingly familiar to childhood song Oh Dear, What Can The Matter Be? it sits beautifully with it’s follow up Mag Mell in creating a melodic interlude, spruced with acoustic guitars and harmonised vocals.

At it’s heart, however, The Book of Dowth is punishingly heavy and delivers beyond expectations with Stone Of The Seven Suns. A plucked Celtic intro leads straight into the chorus before building into an angry tempest. SuidAkra seem to have strayed from their death metal roots, but the mid-section harmonies and guitar leads sit sublimely over the thunderstorm of rhythm guitars that never let up through the entire album.
Everything, of course, builds to the finale Fury Fomoraigh that starts and just doesn’t stop. From the throat-ripping chorus to the terrific breakdown that somehow maintains a folk rhythm, the entire album has built towards a maelstrom of fury as double kick and tremolo picked notes come together. Oh, and those pesky bagpipes turn up again as the finale reprises Upon Nine Waves.

The Book of Dowth is an unforgiving chaotic record that throws everything SuidAkra has into every track and it emerges as a triumphant symbiosis of back breaking heaviness and melancholic folk melodies. Utterly brilliant.