Review: Suidakra ”Cimbric Yarns” [AFM Records]

Review: Suidakra ”Cimbric Yarns” [AFM Records]

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I was really looking forward to this one even though I’ve never been a hardcore-follower of Arkadius‘ main project. Sure enough, my personal starting-with-metal preferences back then should have been the perfect fit for Suidakra‘s rather unique brand of melodic death metal: excellently-placed folk elements, creative riff writing and frantic pace with a competent, aggressive vocal approach on top should have been right up my alley! Yet, they never managed to reach a center stage position in my playlist. What remained was a big love for selected songs, melodies and pounding rhythm guitar sections, but none of their albums completely floored me from start to finish.

Nowadays, I’m looking back at albums like the widely acclaimed Caledonia and the last peak-before-the-valley, the 2011 full-length Book of Dowth, as if they’ve been enshrouded in some kind of murky, exuberant nostalgia, which leaves me longing for these obvious qualities in their earlier releases…since the more time I spend with their recent output, the more I’m getting the impression that their days are indeed over.

Arkadius needs to take a break. He’s been working on about a thousand projects, ranging from guitar-driven music to classical arrangements and movie soundtrack compositions on demand. Now , of course I’m not the one to tell him what to do, but I’m sure if he’d like to succeed with his main band again, he should not throw any more uninspired and half-hearted trite like Cimbric Yarns into the many faces of his Suidakra fanbase. For this kind of recovery, he’d have to stop rushing into things, start collecting GOOD and discarding BAD ideas (assuming that the abilities for crafting the former are still present), which is , surprise , something that he absolutely DID NOT DO with Cimbric Yarns.

This album wants to focus on the “celtic” folk parts of earlier epicisms, with the intention of turning them into a bunch of worthwhile, record-spanning stand-alone songs. To increase their impact upon the listener, it tries to add some more weight with additional keyboard/synth, orchestral elements and clean singing/spoken words. Most of it comes off as forced, blank-space-filling drivel, comparable to some 2 Euro “Ocean Wave”-Yoga-sampler straight out of the bargain-bin at your local hypermarket. Yes indeed, it’s a flat out bore-fest and additionally, Sebastian Jensen’s vocals are a totally out-of-place, corny-as-fuck mess. His thick and almost comical sounding accent merged with a monotone, yet strained delivery annihilates any sense of medieval atmosphere that might creep through once in a blue moon. The female vocals splattered over the record would be fine enough if most of the album’s lyrics weren’t entrenched in regurgitated phrases straight outta the fantasy garbage bin:

  • “Am I alive or is this a dream“
  • “Time keeps passing by, people are born and people die”
  • “ You can always find me, waiting for your smile”

Yeah, seriously, this is ”bad”. Maybe they had some about-as-shitty lyrics in the past but at least those were covered by a hoarsely shrieking, but memorable extreme metal vocalist hovering above a commanding and potent skin-beater, held together by fist-raising and skin-melting fretboard-wizardry.

There’s not much else to say here, really. Oh, the album actually becomes a ”little” more worthwhile in the second half, showing a few better-than-underwhelming guitar arpeggios, played with a little more finesse and feeling…but the core remains the same, an empty shell of a once epic brand, phoned in by a tired, oh-so-tired band. My advice is to just skip this one, but if you really can’t resist the urge to dive into Cimbric Yarns, have a listen to “Assault On Urlár” – the most consistently okay-ish song here and the only one that might remain in your subconscious for a little longer than your average Tolkien rip-off novel.

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