Suidakra – Wolfbite Review

Holy shit, it’s been five years since Suidakra‘s fantastic Realms of Odoric? And, this new album is all heavy, original music? Not another fucking re-recording trip, like Echoes of Yore? Or, an acoustic thingy, like Cimbric Yarns? Well, I’ll be. And, I thought I’d have to drop these German melodeath folkers after all these years. Yes, perhaps I’m getting too excited for nothing.  While I enjoyed Realms of Odoric, I know many cringed at some of the band’s new directions. Some listeners even suggested that a song like “Brave the End” was one of the most cringey things that the band put to tape. I mean, I obviously completely disagree, but one can’t ignore that the band has mixed up their songwriting. There are still plenty of heavy moments and blackened rasps on Realms, but one can’t help but wonder how much farther their sound will progress on this year’s Wolfbite.

So, let’s settle this once and for all. If for no other reason than to get it over with. The only song that uses those beautiful, folky, female vox is “Draconian Slave.” But it’s no ballad. Not like “Brave the End.” So, the haters need to chill. Instead, “Draconian Slave” is a decent blend of old and new. But, not to the fault of the vocals, it comes off as the cheesiest track on the album. It’s also the weakest on the lot. “Resurgence” is another with a good dose of clean vocals. This time, though, it’s all-male. It’s a solid track that starts with flutes and strings before transforming into a melodic death ditty. 

Even with these tracks, Wolfbite is far more aggressive than Realms. The riffs are thick, the drums are bludgeoning, and the rasps are harsher than I’ve heard them in a while. Case in point: “Vortex of Carnage” and closer “Redemption.” These titles say it all. The first has old-school, frenzied fret chaos and rasps conjured up from Arkadius’ inner hell. Its combination of frenetic guitar work and melodeath atmosphere translates into some strong Children of Bodom vibes. And, in its short, four-minute runtime, it builds more than half the band’s epic pieces. The climactic finale and its monstrous gang-shouting chorus, in particular, sends goosebumps up my arms. “Redemption” has a little more going on but it’s the instance when you realize the drums are maybe a bit too far up in the mix. The snares are headache-inducing at times. But its neck-breaking riffs make it one of the heaviest on the album.

Even when the songs lean to the folky and melodic, the band still keeps up the mightiness. The six-minute “Faoladh” teases with some folky key and guitar work before smashing into a wall of riffs. Like the previously mentioned tracks, the guitars work at lightning speed, and the drums rupture eardrums. Even the mid-album instrumental is worth mentioning. Of all the songs on the album, the band feels the most comfortable and confident with “Crossing Over.” I haven’t been this impressed with the inclusion of an instrumental track in some time. “Crossing Over” passes through every door of the Suidakra sound. And, as a reward for your patience, the journey concludes with a fist-pumping finale.

To these ears, Wolfbite has a lot of Emprise to Avalon vibes. Because I love that 2002 release, this is a wonderful feeling. After multiple listens, though, Wolfbite is really a combination of Emprise and Realms. It’s the joying of old and new Suidakra. And I’m honestly shocked that they made this album feel unique after writing almost 30 years of music. Those fast riffs are deliciously old-school, and the variety of male and female vocals gives it that modern flare. There’s melody, folk, melodeath, and even rip-roaring fretwork of classic German power metal. That said, it’s a fairly compressed record and the drums are goddamn loud. Those issues set aside, the last five years have been worth the wait.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kb/s mp3
Label: MDD Records
Websites: suidakra.bandcamp.com | suidakra.com | facebook.com/official.suidakra
Releases Worldwide: June 25th, 2021

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