SUIDAKRA is a band that has a special place in my heart. Ever since I heard the tunes of their albums "Lays From Afar" and "The Arcanum" I have believed that this German band could make it big in the Metal-world, and the signing to major label Century Media was a great step in the right direction for this deserved recognition. Now it's up to the band to prove the trust given, with the release of their fourth full length and Century Media debut, "Emprise To Avalon".
After the release of "The Arcanum" nearly every bandmember at that time quit the band for several reason, all but founder and mastermind behind the band, guitarist/vocalist Arkadius Antonik, and in a severely decreased role also by Marcel Schoenen. In due time the band was completed with guitarist Germano, drummer Lars and bassist Marcus. And some changes can be noted on "Emprise To Avalon" compared to older SUIDAKRA-material. The vocals have not changed so much since the latest CD (maybe the ratio clean/screams a little bit, but nothing major), but in my opinion especially the drums have been greatly improved! Also the keyboards seem to be a bit stronger than on previous releases.
Guitarwise SUIDAKRA also has also stepped up a bit, not only delivering the most enchanting melodic riffs I have heard this band play, but also "Emprise To Avalon" features some of the heaviest work to date. A major factor in my love for the band is also the presence of the fantastic folk elements, and besides the acoustic songs on the album, these elements are still strongly represented on the album. In other words, when everything has been improved, you have your best record up to date… Yes, I think that SUIDAKRA has achieved that. Though after the first listen I was not entirely convinced, repeated listenings have definitely enlarged my liking of this CD to the extent that I think this is fantastic!!
Truly brilliant work can be found on the acoustic tracks "Dinas Emrys", "The Spoils Of Annwn" and the breathtaking "And The Giants Dance…". But other fantastic tracks are "Pendragon's Fall", the superb "The Quest", strong opener "Darkane Times" and "Song Of The Graves". Then I have to mention the track "Still The Pipes Are Calling", which is a rearrangement of the old SUIDAKRA song "Warpipes Call Me" (which can be found on out-of-print "Lupine Essence", which is re-released as a bonus on the DigiPak of "Lays From Afar")… well, for the readers that have paid attention to the tracklist only one song remains unmentioned, so there you go: "The Highking". In other words, this album is filled with absolutely great tracks!
"Emprise To Avalon" is a must for Melodic Black-fans with a love for folk, and for everyone that likes melody in Metal, and for everyone that likes Metal… Most certainly a contender for the number one spot of favourite records this year! (Online July 11, 2002)