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A brave new direction - 92%

Jort, October 3rd, 2007

The day this album was released, it became the subject of intense discussion among fans. Most people disliked it because of the new style, which is less folky, once a key element in the band's music. The folk element is driven to the background, or even completely inexistent in some of the new songs, and harsh vocals are used a lot more frequently. Add darker themed lyrics to the mix, and you have an album that completely breaks with Elvenking's previous style.

Myself, having enjoyed Elvenking's older albums, picked this album up, really not knowing what to expect. At first I was quite startled with the new style, but as the album progressed, I ended up enjoying it quite a lot. Actually, I liked the album more and more after every consecutive playthrough.

In my opinion, Damnagoras' vocals have definately improved, and the fine blend of clean power vocals, harsher thrashy vocals and growls sounds great. While the folk element has been pushed into the background, the violin is still extensively used in a lot of songs, and the songs have become more melodic and 'edgy'. I can't think of a single song I dislike, and almost every track is amazingly catchy. The lyrics have become darker, with lyrics about death and the like (save for a few exceptions). A story is told inbetween many of the tracks, which unfolds at the end of the album, and gives the album a sort of mysterious feel. Presenting the concept of 'death' as a sort of female grim reaper turns the story into a tale of folklore, which really fits the album's mix of darker lyrics and mild folk elements. While I don't find these short passages to be amazingly great, I do think that the album would have a different feel to it, had they not included them.

All in all, I really enjoyed this album. I can see why many Elvenking fans are disappointed with the new album, but if you clear your mind and prepare yourself for something entirely different, you might just love this album. I applaud Elvenking for this brave new direction they have taken, and unlike my disappointment in Sonata Arctica's "Unia", I have fallen in love with this new style.