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Caledonia opens with "Highland Hills," a mixture of heavy metal and pseudo-Scottish folk jigs that sounds like it came straight out of Spinal Tap's reject pile and continues for eight bewilderingly misguided minutes. Although the combination of metal and folk influences has been part of Suidakra's sound from the very beginning, the Celtic influences of Caledonia (a romantic name for auld Scotland, much the same way that many pretentious folkies insist on referring to England as "Albion") are so overwhelming, intrusive and -- most importantly -- utterly fake that this is the first album by this long-running German act that sounds like some kind of weird deadpan joke. There is no evidence that the members of Suidakra have any particular affinity for Scotland or its music, and so the "Scottish" tunes sound like the work of someone who's approximating Celtic folk without having ever actually heard much of it, and the melodic palette is so limited that songs like "Evoke the Demon" and "Forth-Clyde" basically sound like the same tune at slightly different speeds. In the midst of all this is the acoustic instrumental "Ramble," which is politely inoffensive enough to serve as background music for local announcements on a public television station. Not authentic enough to be folk and not aggressive enough to be particularly interesting as metal, Caledonia is a misguided waste of time.

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