A versatile heavy metal outfit based out of Dusseldorf, Germany, Suidakra incorporate traditional folk instruments like bagpipes, tin whistles, and banjos into their unique amalgam of melodic folk, Celtic, and death metal.
Emerging in the mid-'90s as a straightforward death metal unit, the band was founded by guitarist Arkadius Antonik and drummer Stefan Möller; the group's moniker is derived from the former's forename in reverse. Originally operating under the name Gloryfication, they settled on Suidakra after adding keyboardist Daniela Voigt, guitarist Marcel Schoenen, and bassist Christoph Zacharowski to the roster. The newly minted quintet issued their debut album, Lupine Essence, independently in 1997. The record caught the ear of German label Last Episode, which signed the group the following year and released their sophomore effort, Auld Lang Syne. Bass player Zacharowski left the fold shortly after the album's release, making way for Nils Bross, who made his studio debut on 1999's Lays Afar -- both that LP and 2000's The Arcanum saw the band adopt a more aggressive, Gothenburg-style death metal.
A flurry of lineup and stylistic changes followed in the latter album's wake, as did a move to Sony imprint Century Media, which released Emprise to Avalon in 2002 and Signs for the Fallen in 2003. Creative differences with Century Media led the group to sign with Armageddon Music for album number seven, 2005's Command to Charge. With sole original member Arkadius Antonik now overseeing a rotating crew of players, the group looked to the war between the Picts and the Roman Empire for 2006's ambitious Caledonia, which hewed toward more traditional folk melodies with Highland bagpipes prominently featured. Taking its name from the Gaelic word for "bravery," 2008's Crógacht continued the group's transformation from death metal savages to Celtic-themed power metallers, going so far as to add a 16-member choir to the mix.
In 2011, the band inked a deal with AFM Records and issued their tenth full-length outing, Book of Dowth. A heavy bout of touring found the group making stops in India and the United States preceding the arrival of 2013's Eternal Defiance. 2016's powerful Realms of Odoric and 2018's ambient folk tome Cimbric Yarns eschewed history for fantasy, looking to the fantastical worlds of Belgian artist and frequent visual collaborator Kris Verwimp for inspiration. In 2019, Suidakra marked their 25th anniversary with Echoes of Yore, which featured reworked versions of some of their classic songs. ~ James Christopher Monger