Sound: Longtime underappreciated German metallers SuidAkrA have arrived with their 10th release of folk-infused metal. With leading man Arkadius Antonik behind the helm, Book of Dowth feels like a natural progression from 2009's Crogacht.
Opening with the instrumental "Over Nine Waves" they hang their classic folk influences on their sleeves, with melodic bagpipes leading into a driving drumbeat and chugging guitars laying the path to the first full track on the album. What follows is a beautiful progression of celtic metal riffs, growling vocals interspersed with melodic harmonies, and hammering drums.
Whilst Book of Dowth is not a perfect release by any means, but it does capture a good balance between melodic metal and folk influences. From the mellow acoustic intricacies of "Mag Mell" to the heavy throes of "Dowth 2059" the album shows consistency in its diversity, true to SuidAkrA form. // 8
Lyrics: Kris Verwimp is, once again, in charge of the lyrical concept. This time around it is about a mysterious race known as the "Formor" and their battle against the human race. The lyrics fit the album well and serve their purpose, but are unremarkable in their own right.
Arkadius' abilities with both clean and growled vocals are more realised on this album that previous releases, and along with the softer melodies of Tina Stabel he makes for an appropriately vocally diverse sound. // 7
Overall Impression: Book of Dowth is sounds very much like the successor to their previous album, Crogacht. Staying true to their progression, with perhaps an exception to Command to Charge, SuidAkrA have created a well paced and melodic story with Book of Dowth. The standout tracks are "Dowth 2059", "Birog's Oath", "Balor", and "Stone of the Seven Suns". Whilst the remaining tracks are by no means filler, they contribute significatly less to the album as a whole. Would I replace this album were it stolen or lost? In a heartbeat, this album is considered requred listening for any fan of metal with folk influences, and highly recommended for any other fan of metal.
Book of Dowth is a quality, solid release which should not be passed over by any fan of metal. // 8