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After their famous and critically praised relase, the Winter Wake, Elvenking went ahead and made something truly exceptional: A melodic death metal album with folk elements.
To most people, this album stands out rather weak because of the sudden change of style. Alright, this is understandable; however, what they seem to be lacking is a proper and unaffected listen. You shouldn't listen to this album expecting to hear pure folk metal or the same old Elvenking, and then write a deceiving review about it. Besides, what is folk metal? If you ask me, it has no limits. If another band were to release this instead of Elvenking, I believe it wouldn't be blamed.
The Scythe features a unique style, it is not completely death metal, nor is it drowning in folk instruments. In fact, I have never listened to something like this. The title track starts off with Damna speaking followed by heavy guitar riffing, and later violins come in. Damna's vocals are great and they fit the song perfectly. While there are some brutal moments throughout the album, if there were mainly brutal vocals, I'm sure I wouldn't like it this much; that's how I can describe it. As for all the other songs on the album, it is the same.
The second track, Lost Hill of Memories, is among the best songs on the album. From the beginning to the end, as Damna's vocals deliver the emotion, nicely crafted guitar-riffs and the unity will get you hooked. "Waters of the ocean, tell her that I am near. Winds of far horizons, blow off all the fears. Fearless I stand, strong of all. The emotions I lived through, as my memories and soul belong to you" The chorus is so catchy that you will probably find yourself singing it along. The song also features a short but top-notch guitar-solo.
Rest of the songs are all worth mentioning. Each one of them has it's uniqueness, especially Romance and Wrath for being the best song on the album. It is like a compilation of what is there to be found on The Scythe, and the female and guest vocals add a lot.
The only purely-soft song is Totentanz, performed with acoustic guitars and violins. A fine relaxation song which is like a pause between Horns Ablaze and Death and the Suffering. Now that I mentioned it, Death and the Suffering is a total-killer. A great chorus and crisp guitar-riffs, and a short, slow violin-section close to the end.
Elvenking have managed to create something different than their usual style, and they have done it right. This album will undoubtedly satisfy open-minded listeners.