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Since I'd first heard Elvenking several months back, I have been a huge fan of everything they've done, save for the monolithic-failure that was "The Scythe". However, I feel as though the Italian-born folk metallers have certainly redeemed themselves with "Two Tragedy Poets" When I had, a few weeks ago, discovered that TTP was entirely acoustic, I was ecstatic and had high hopes for their newest release. And I'm pleasantly pleased to say that these expectations were met, and surpassed even with flying colors. "Two Tragedy Poets" is among Elvenking's greatest work.
I'd like to say that this album is metal in aesthetic, however it's more folk-rock in terms of musical sound. In addition to the pristine tone provided by Aydan, Elvenking also utilize electric guitars in some instances, and this is done to great effect. The first song we're greeted with is a well-chosen exposition entitled "The Caravan of Weird Figures". This gives one a hint of what's to come - beautifully done, infectiously catchy folk rock. "Another Awful Hobs Tale" is a fantastic, speedy song with some fairly interesting lyrics. While it isn't a highlight, it's definitely not one to skip! Next comes "From Blood to Stone", complete with this set of groovy riffs that'll have even the most kvlt, misanthropic black metaller tapping their foot along and perhaps even humming the chorus: "FALL-ING, FALL-ING!" Certainly one of my favorites on "Two Tragedy Poets". Next up is "Ask A Silly Question", which is not one of my favorites, but is still by all means worthy of much merit. The shouted gang vocals are a nice touch and that main riff is just damn catchy! Hearing Damnagoras sing "THE MISSIONARY POSITION.." is a sonic-sight to behold. "She Lives At Dawn" follows the aforesaid and is merely a short, yet sorrowful I think, interlude. It doesn't add much, but rather disrupts the flow of the album as a whole. Elvenking's classic song "The Winter Wake" is redone in an acoustic style and I'd say it's even better than the original! That certainly says something. Damnagoras' vocals are pristine here and worthy of unequivocal praise. "Heaven is a Place on Earth" is an interesting song, it's a cover of Belinda Carlisle's, and I must say that in all of its utter "cheesiness" lyrically, it's a solid song. No complaints there. "My Own Spider's Web" contrasts with most of the other songs on "Two Tragedy Poets" in that it's actually relatively downbeat. The almost "tribal" drumming throughout is a pretty cool touch. Despite its stark difference from some of the other songs on the album, it's a pretty cool tune. Subsequently follows "Not My Final Song", which is I think had potential but was thrown off a little by several factors. Damnnagoras' vocals here are a little strange, harking back to "The Scythe", however they're not nearly as offensive. "The Blackest of My Hearts" is an interesting song, it's definitely not very fast-paced, and it exemplifies how great a drummer Zender is. "The Wanderer" is, I think, the most amazing song on the album and is certainly my favorite that Elvenking has ever done. While the original was great, it doesn't compare to the complete and total "catchiness" that is the acoustic version. After the main riff is played, which is on its own amazing, we're treated with an awe-inspiringly cool little secondary riff, at around :16. Definitely a highlight! "Miss Conception" comes up next and is also one of my preferred tracks. Its thoughtful lyrics and heavenly acoustic chord progressions render it as being a masterpiece on its own.
The guitar-work is fantastic and completely varied, Zender does a masterful job in terms of percussion, and Damnnagoras' vocals are just perfect. The folk elements therein, provided largely by Elyghen, add much to the album and keep alive the flame of the old Elvenking. However, the bass on this album is largely unnoticeable, which is, in my book, a negative. With such amazing tracks as "From Blood to Stone", "The Wanderer", and "Miss Conception", "Two Tragedy Poets" is sure to go down as a folk-classic in the metal scene. Elvenking have crafted a commendable album - an album that I'm proud to call one of my favorites.
"As the lights slowly fade in an emerald whirl
I dig through my broken ideals
As the sun hides his smile from the plain down below
I stand enchanted"