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Elvenking: Reader Of The Runes - Rapture

It’s album number 11 for Elvenking, and album number two in their Reader of The Runes concept trilogy. As ever with these guys first impressions can be a little misleading, the initial impact of Reader Of The Runes - Rapture being that yes, this is another cool power metal album from this Italian sextet. However, stick with it and what at first felt like a straight forward experience soon evolves into something incorporating a few progressive elements, some death metal-lite and the merest dash of the Scandie sound. Put together it makes for a potent mix, the vocals from Damina proud and clear, while the occasional growls - or incantations as the band call them - add some colour. Since the first part of this trilogy landed in 2019 guitarist Rafahel and drummer Lancs have traded in their pointy ears, with the former being replaced by the band’s guitar tech Headmatt and the latter be the returning Symohn behind the kit. None of that reshuffling has impacted on the cohesion and chemistry we’ve come to expect from this outfit, the conglomeration of full force metal and more nuanced, sometimes technical asides as potent as ever.

Truth be told I haven’t really delved into the concept on display here, but the band have stated that we are heading into darker territory and it has to be said that you sense that in the music, a slightly harsher edge and a few frenetic moments upping the intensity. However, these guys have never been slouches in either department, so the differences are more subtle growth than glaring revolution, but there’s enough variance between this outing and 2019’s Divination to leave a fresh and vibrant feel.

Highlights tumble forth at a fair clip, “The Cursed Cavalier” landing on the slightly more subtle end of this band’s metal menagerie and it’s effective as hell as it does so, whereas the whiplash drumming, keyboard melodies and rasping vocals of “To The North” might just be the riff-totting highlight of the whole album. Bright and breezy, “Bridge Of Night” shines a light on the melody that sits behind everything this band do, while “Herdchant” brings the bombast, and “Incantations” the more folky flair that’s also at their disposal.

One of the most consistent bands in the current European power metal scene it really does have to be said that Elvenking seldom, if ever drop the ball. With Reader Of Runes - Rapture they are in top form once again.

Track Listing
1. Rapture
2. The Hanging Tree
3. Bridge Of Night
4. Herdchant
5. The Cursed Cavalier
6. To The North
7. Covenant
8. Red Mist
9. Incantations
10. An Autumn Reverie
11. The Repentant

Added: December 8th 2023
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Elvenking online
Hits: 305
Language: english

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