It has been nearly two decades since Arkadius Antonik began building the beast that would become Suidakra. Since being founded in 1994 Arkadius has been the driving force behind one of folk metal’s pioneering bands. The band name is in fact, Arkadius spelled backward.
Hailing from Germany, Suidakra set its foundation in melodic death metal, weaving elements of folk and Celtic influences to the mix. They were among the first to do this, creating the sub-genre of folk metal. Arkadius admits he had no idea thy were pioneering anything:
“It’s really funny. When we started to combine these two elements we never thought about something like pioneer stuff. We just did it without thinking too much about if it will have an influence or not. I would say the special thing about Suidakra in this genre is that we are still alive. I have seen so many bands coming up in this whole Pagan stuff and disappearing. We never looked to the right or left. We never compared ourselves with any trends and I think this is why we are still alive.”
Antonik remains the band’s only continuous member, principal songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist. He has contributed other instruments over the years including keyboards, and has been the band’s orchestral arranger. Drummer Lars Wehner has been on board since 2001, and bassist Tim Siebrecht has been around in some form since 2006.
Suidakra began its ascent with its 1997 debut “Lupine Essence”, growing its fan-base and pushing its sound through 2011’s “Book of Dowth” which garnered widespread acclaim, making many year-end “best of” lists.
On June 4, Suidakra released its eleventh studio effort, “Eternal Defiance” which places greater emphasis on orchestral atmosphere than ever before. Antonik’s songwriting vision is epic and cinematic. Kris Verwimp supplied the lyrical concept for “Eternal Defiance“, which is based on the history and mythology of the Welsh story, “The Dream of Macsen Wledig”. Verwimp also created the album’s illustrations and artwork, and has created artwork for seven of the band’s records. Verwimp has created album art for numerous bands including Moonsorrow, Arch Enemy, and Absu.
This week Metalholic connected with Arkadius via Skype to discuss 19 years of Suidakra, “Eternal Defiance”, his growth as a songwriter, and his list of five essential metal albums. Listen to the full interview below.