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In my review for the album "The winter wake", I wrote that I really liked the experimental style of "Trows kind" and "The winter wake" and that I hoped that the band would head on to focus on such particular songs. When the cover artwork of this album was published, I expected some darker material of this album, but that the band would have done such a radical change of style even surprised me. First, I was just mixed up or stunned, but after a few tries, I really liked the courageous darker and harsher direction of this album. I really like when bands go into such kind of directions like Iron Maiden with "The X Factor", Judas Priest with "Jugulator" or Helloween with "The dark ride", just to give you an idea. Now, Elvenking deliver their own dark side.
The first song starts with spoken word intros and weird and dark background songs. In fact, every song on this album begins with some spoken words by a narrator and this style underlines the conceptual style of the album. It is indeed an album about the ways you could die. I find the main idea quite interesting but I think that the narrator doesn't show enough emotions and sounds rather bored and that's what destroys the good ambitions.
The title track is a very dark and heavy song with a very epic and melodic chorus and one of the catchiest songs on the album. But this song shows already that the band concentrates on death metal and even gore elements on this album and you rarely hear songs that remember you of their old power and folk metal style like "A riddle to the stars" or "Totentanz".
A good example for the new direction of the band would be the dramatically and atmospheric "Infection" with death vocal shrieks and a mixture of dark growls and melodic vocals in a very catchy chorus. The violin is though perfectly integrated in this part and gives a very diversified and particular touch to the song. The atmospheric and doom interlude underlines the song's particularity and creepy atmosphere. Even if you would not like this song, one must admit that this sound is unique and courageous. And personally, I think that the experiment succeeded. This song represents very well the album and it is one of my favourite ones.
The only song that falls a little bit out of the line is the single "The divided heart" which is a more melodic but yet very dark gothic pop ballad with an extremely kitsch but catchy chorus. That sounds horrible, but it isn’t. Normally, this song would be the weak point of such an album, but that isn't the case here. This song is so catchy and addicting that you can't get it out of your mind, especially for the chorus. The band really has a talent to write catchy choruses on this album and this song gets the peak position. The most important thing is that this song even fits on the album because it stays in a darker tone and relates also to the death topic.
The only problem about this album is that some songs in the second half are a little bit too long and seem to repeat and go into the same direction rapidly. The catchiness of first songs has gone and songs like "Romance and wrath", "Death and the suffering" or "Dominhate" mostly sound too ambitious and overlong for nothing.
But a part of those three songs, you can find seven dark and eerie catchy killers on this courageous album. The band just did what they wanted to do on this album and took high risks, but as far as I am concerned, I think that there thing worked on me. The album is different from the solid but repeating power folk stuff they have done before and that many other bands do. This album has mostly no cute and innocent folk melodies, it is dark, eerie and evil and may shock the old and average fans. I think that it is the highlight in the band's discography. But it is good as well that they didn't continue to head into that direction on the later albums, not to please to the weeping closed minded fans that hated this album, but to keep the unique spirit of this one alive.