SUIDAKRA… This is one of those bands that hardly anyone seems to know, but yet they probably rank amongst the best of their genre… Celtic Black Metal with loads of acoustic interludes is what they make, with great guitar-riffs, clean vocals and Black Metal-vocals. Really, you shouldn't really read this review, just go buy this and all their other albums! For the ones not so easily persuaded, here comes my more in depth view of "Lays From Afar".
This album, the follow-up to debut album "Auld Lang Syne" comes with a total of 19 songs. Ok, the original "Lays From Afar"-album only has 11 songs, but due to the fact that their demo "Lupine Essence" was not available anymore, the band decided to include this album on the DigiPak of "Lays From Afar". When you listen to the album you can indeed notice the difference in material… But it's more the production and vocals that set this apart, the music from the demo is extremely good for a band that just got started!! All of the songs could easily fit on "Lays From Afar".
Now, the music: As was mentioned before, SUIDAKRA delivers a brand of atmospheric folk-influenced Metal that is not often encountered. With passages of enchanting melodies, powerful Black-riffs and beautiful acoustic interludes this album is one Metal-dream. The guitar-parts are very well constructed, accompanied by a solid drum and bass-performance and highly atmospheric keys. The 2 vocal types used, the standard Black Metal-vocals and the clean vocals, are both of high quality and contribute greatly to the music that is displayed on the album, adding to the diversity on this album. And something that adds even more to the folky-feel, every now and then female vocals, sung by keyboard player Daniela Voigt, pass by (Though they are pretty rare when compared to "Auld Lang Syne").
This CD is full of highlights. From the powerful opener "A Darksome Path" to "The Well Of Might", from "Strayed In Nowhere" to "Lays From Afar", all the song are small masterpieces by itself. The acoustic parts/songs ensure that this album is always interesting, as no song sounds the same and all have an almost catchy feeling about them. Listening to this album, I again wonder why the hell Metalheads around the globe can't find this band. For me, not many bands come close to the level of SUIDAKRA, and many people that I introduced to this band agree that they are something very special. So this one time, take my advice and check them out, you won't be disappointed!!