Celtic Metal, Viking Metal, Pirate Metal, there are a whole hogwash of fantastically made up genre tags that seem to bear almost no meaning. I am often infuriated when people refer to Amon Amarth, (later) Bathory and TYR as Viking Metal despite the fact that they all sound totally different. Surely you cannot base an entire genre on lyrical themes alone? I tend to stray from the use of these tags too much, usually I just use Folk Metal as a reference point for all of the aforementioned as it seems to be the most fitting, but alas my ranting must cease.
Germany has given birth to many a classic band in many a Metal scene, yet today it is Melodic Death Metal we turn too. Suidakra the Celtic/ Melodic Death Metal titans (or should that be Folk/ Melodic Death Metal?) have a long standing career of 24 years and 12 full length studio albums. We come now to the 13th full length release Cimbric Yarns. This album promises a far more subdued outlook for the band, dropping essentially all of the Metal influence to create a very traditional, medieval/ Vikingesque sound based around a fictional world, lets see how that plays out.
The very first thing to note is that this isn’t Metal, and secondly it isn’t a good place to start if you’re new to Suidakra. The sound is entirely different to prior works as previously mentioned, but does that make for a bad album? I guess that is in the ear of the beholder (or something like that), acoustic music does seem to have a bit of a toe in the water when it comes to Metal, just look at the latest Winterfylleth or Blaze Bayley releases. If anything this album certainly embodies the tunes of battle, it really is like taking a trip to a Viking campfire, drinking beer and joining in with the Folk songs of old.
Whilst having its moments it is little more than an underground Lord of the Rings soundtrack. By no means can I say it is awful but it really doesn’t make me want to pick up my sword and charge into the battlefield. I acknowledge that certain tracks, Serpentine Origins and Snakehenge in particular are very catchy yet it really does little for me. I would much rather have seen these tracks developed into more Metallic offerings, generally that is what this album is lacking. I have tried listening to this time and time again because it is everything I should love but it simply fails to land.
In conclusion I really think Suidakra are a band whom claim to be bigger than they actually are. Creating an acoustic album is by no means a easy feat, but equally I do feel it is the sort of thing best left to artists with a great deal more prowess. I can’t say I’ve been overwhelmed by any of the prior Suidakra releases and quite frankly this is no different. I really felt as if Cimbric Yarns could be a turning point but frankly it isn’t. Instead it is a continuing slippery slope towards boredom, utilising cliché notions and song structures.
(5/10 George Caley)