Written by: PP on 12/12/2006 17:19:46

After browsing around the internet to find some more information on Suidakra's eighth album "Caledonia" - a band I didn't know even by name beforehand - I found that most reviews of it agreed with the fact that it is a 'return to form' by the band who apparently had ditched their folk-influenced death metal style to just death metal on their previous effort "Command To Charge". They also stated this to be some of the best material the band has composed today, and in almost unison gave it grades like 8.5 or more. After having closer to ten listens of "Caledonia", I still fail to see how it can be possible that all these metalzines give it such a high grade, and here's why.

"Caledonia" is not original - at all. The whole concept of folk-metal has been tossed around and around for almost two decades now, so just repeating the old formula of including the odd bagpipe-sound that bands like Enslaved and Finntroll have been toying around for ages isn't going to warrant for a good review from me. One could easily argue the songs on "Caledonia" are technically proficient - if not enclosing virtuoso level in terms of talent such as in "A Blackened Shield" - or that the folk-influence is nicely embedded into the whole death metal sound, and these two extremes complement each other fully. But at least to me, many of the songs seem tame and forced, as if the folky parts were written against their will (pressure of the fanbase perhaps?), and that the band doesn't feel themselves at home writing songs like this anymore. "Forth-Clyde" is from the better quartile of this album, and it's more Gothenburg-influenced death metal than sheer folk metal a la Cruachan or Finntrol. On the other quartile are the ballads like "Ramble". I frankly fail to see what ballads are doing on a death metallish album on the first place, because they break the flow and - at least for me - result in yawns.

The end feeling you get from listening to "Caledonia" is that the band wants to a) show off their guitar talent by throwing in solos that are incredibly technical and sound nice, but don't really lead anywhere and b) forcibly include bits and pieces of folky stuff with the use of blazing bouncy riffs and smart use of keys , and c) wants to fortify the two previous points by applying atmospheric soundscapes as introductions to many of the songs, such as in the 'windy' "Highland Hills". That being said, it's not significantly bad, but I feel the staying power just isn't there, and the songs aren't the kind of songs that you need to have in order to score in the 8s or higher. Maybe i'm just contrasted sharply by having intensively listened to Cruachan's "The Morrigan's Call" just before reviewing this, but I don't think "Caledonia" is anywhere above the average.


Download: Highland Hills, The IXth Legion
For the fans of: Cruachan, Finntroll, Ensiferum
Listen: Myspace

Release date 17.11.2006
Armageddon Music
Provided by Target ApS

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