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There once was a kingdom, so beautiful and powerful, ruling over Europe and slowly working its control into other lands far, far away. This kingdom was known as power metal, and what a glorious kingdom indeed. The power metal realm housed a colossal armory, dragons and wolves to govern the landscape, stunning rainbows, and tales of fairies and elves galore. However, one fateful night, the kingdom was presented an offer that they just could not refuse. From distant lands came the massive boom of trampling hooves – it was none other than folk metal - looking to join forces upon the most epic of quests. Together they planned to dominate the heavy metal world as one. This creation became known as Elvenking.
So now that you all know the true history of this band, let’s discuss their latest album release, Era, released in September 2012. Elvenking is an Italian power/folk metal band that has always nailed the fusion of these genres in a way that no other band out there can manage to do. The elements are all there – fairies, travelers, weapons, wolves, love, and battle – all blended together perfectly in each and every release. Despite some recent line-up changes, they’ve managed to pull it all together yet again for a great release. Era is a true work of art, and should be appreciated by folk metallers and power metallers of the like, all around the world.
The first track “Loser” caught me off guard, as I’m sure it would to any fan of Elvenking familiar with their sound off of an earlier album such as “The Winter Wake”. Upon solely reading the lyrics I pictured a slow, sad song with some violin or keys supporting the words I was reading. However, the music hit hard, and Damna’s vocals are quite unique for the band’s original style, attempting a faster rhythm. I really love the lyrics, and the message behind the song (I’m fine with being myself & being alone, so fuck you) however the style is something I had to listen to multiple times for it to grow on me. I was a bit worried upon first impression that my beloved band had changed too much for my liking. Continuing on with the album though, I was shown that Elvenking is still the same, bad ass - and melodically delicious.
“Midnight Skies, Winter Sighs” is exactly the song that I want to hear this band singing. They’ve got such amazing songwriting skills to write a hook while remaining artistic, intelligent, and metal. This song is none other than their brilliant gold trophy of said ability. The chorus gave me chills, and still does after I’ve heard it about 20 times. “Through Wolf’s Eyes” is a song about the tale of Little Red Riding hood from a totally different point of view than what we’re used to. Not only is it a great song musically, but the lyrics tell an awesome story “Just with her beauty she was healing his scars” about the wolf falling in love with Red. Of course in the end, our wolf falls to his inevitable death in the name of love.
I was actually disappointed when the album ended, but extremely happy to find that my player was on repeat and the album began all over again. This truthfully had the power to transport me into another realm of fairy tales and fortune tellers, and yet, driving me to grab a beer and swing it along at the same time. The violin and keys really help drive the album home in the melodies, and the band wouldn’t be nearly the same without them. It’s not too often you find a band with a permanent violin player and I think that is what really gives Elvenking their signature sound. To top it off, take guitar melodies and prominent bass helping to bring the metal elements, mix in driving drums and an extremely original and talented vocalist of humble beginnings, and you have the recipe of a fantastic band.
[Originally written for MetalWani.com]