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So, your band has just recorded a good album with a vocalist who was better in every way than his predecessor. This album may have been reviled by some, but overall the quality was high and the album was pretty much more than the sum of the members that created it. So, what do you do? Bring back your original vocalist who never sounded good, eschew your music of everything that made your sophomore album sound great and go back to writing music exactly like the stuff you recorded for your amateurish debut album, only now with no excuse for sounding this amateurish?
Well, that would just be retarded, wouldn’t it? I mean, no band in their right minds would ever do such a thing, would they? It’s positively inconceivable that a band like, um, Elvenking for example, would ever do such a thing! Well, too bad, because they did, and it sucks just as hard as you would think. Folks, brace yourselves…this is The Winter Wake. Put on your snow-boots, tighten your scarves and let’s dig right into this pit of decrepit melting ice.
There is just…nothing about this that is in any way engaging. It’s third-rate, bargain bin level crap without one lick of integrity at all. Every note is processed and calculated to a dull sheen, lacking power and cohesion as the band stumbles through every cluster of riffs and half-assed folk melodies, trying desperately to release this album so they can go back to humping chickens, or whatever it is they do in their spare time. Heinous!
Right from the start, Elvenking bores. “Trows Kind” is really a spectacle, drawing on every cliché you’d expect and somehow not being even one bit endearing or enjoyable. It’s about as spirited as a coma patient and the song goes through several time changes and whiddly jamborees of songwriting clutter, never conjuring up anything you’ll remember in its entire six minutes. Further songs do not impress, with only slight instances with passable riffs and melodies, like the nice groove the title track lays down and the catchy choruses of “Devil’s Carriage” and “Rats are Following.” But those are the exceptions rather than the rule. Most of this is just uneventful, uncreative shash, like the dull “Swallowtail,” the horrendous “Rouse Your Dream,” which reinforces everything this band ever did wrong, or the overlong and under-imaginative “Neverending Nights,” which should have just been called “Neverending Boredom.”
Isn’t this the kind of thing you expect a band to release on their third album? I mean, who needs progression and depth to music when you can just rehash your debut album with a different production and people will still eat it up! God, what a load. Nothing on here is even remotely charming. Damnagoras enunciates poorly, the riffs change tempo and style every thirty or forty seconds and everything is piled on top of everything else with no regard for anything anyone with a brain cell would want to hear. Vomitous; it’s a mess. Don’t these guys have any notion of improving upon themselves at all? There DOES come a time when a band has to start making their sound better. This is just stupid, is what it is. At one point in time this sound coming from Elvenking was endearing, but that was half a decade before this album came out, and by the release of it, this whole thing comes off as more embarrassing than anything. It just sounds like they aren’t trying very hard.
Bottom line? This album is terrible! What a wimpy, weak excuse for Power Metal; what a terrible joke. The Winter Wake, for everything crammed into it, is just too boring and too derivative of older material to stick out, and it is especially unacceptable after their last album was so promising. This is the very definition of a throwaway album, plain and simple. My advice is, just turn this off; it is not even memorable enough to leave a lasting impression. You’ll forget about this piece of plastic in a few days tops.