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After the dark experimental album "The scythe", Elvenking try once again something completely new in their career and present us an acoustic album. But I must admit that this idea is nothing really original anymore, I am already satisfied with all those folk acoustic albums by German bands like In Extremo, Letzte Instanz or Subway to Sally and so on and enough is enough. When this album was announced, my reaction was just: Sorry? Another acoustic album? Are they all doing acoustic albums right now? There album must be strong to justify its presence!
Well, but this album isn't that strong or original. It is not worse than the acoustic albums of the German folk hard rock bands. But it is not better, too. Too many songs are repeating always the same style. The album is smooth and has a harmonic tranquility, but I'm missing more original folk instruments, some experiments, some courage like on the last album. The average fan liked this album because it was not a provocation, a "hate it or like it" as the last one was. This album could please to almost everyone a little bit, but not completely too anyone. It's an album to celebrate a reconciliation with the old fans that have turned their backs on the band after the last album. The album wants to be intellectual and chilling. I think it's a mostly boring album for a typical metal head but I am able to see some positive points in it.
It starts very well though. After a good introduction, "Another awful hobs tale" has the typical dynamical power folk style of the band, only in an acoustic style. The harmonic single "From blood to stone" is a little bit slower and has a catchy chorus, "Not my final song" is a faster, funnier song that makes you smile somehow. There is nothing dark and eerie on this album any more.
The rest of the songs sound all quite similar and are not as particular or catchy as the three ones that I've mentioned. The acoustic reprises of "The winter wake" and "The wanderer" are not as good as the original versions, especially the first one has a lack of originality in comparison to the original version. The cover song "Heaven is a place on earth" is the only non acoustic song and doesn't fit at all with the rest of the album.
Surprisingly, it is my favourite song on the album and has a really romantic and charming atmosphere that is at least as magic as the original version by Belinda Carlisle that I already liked before. I would even prefer Elvenking's catchy and harmonic version to the pop song and it doesn't happen often that I prefer the cover to the original. This song, just because of the instruments, the romantic style and the powerful magic, has not at all the same style as the rest of the album and it is maybe because of this that the song really surprised me and grew on me with the time. It is also an indicator that the rest of the album can't be that great if a cover song is my favourite tune on the album.
I would recommend this album to fans of inspiring acoustic folk music or people who want to have something relaxing, friendly and harmonic as background music while they are painting, writing poems or just relaxing. But if you take the songs one by one, they are not really strong or original and I wouldn't call this a strong album. It is more an album for special occasions and it doesn't happen that I'm very often listening to it and I would probably consider it as the weakest one in the band's discography.