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Battlelore: Third Age of the Sun

Tolkien metal? Laugh you may, but the music of Finland's Battlelore is no laughing matter. Battlelore is the only band that is able to use the official names of Middle Earth characters and locations from the Lord of the Rings book series, and they even go so far as to use costumes that look identical to those worn by the actors in the movies directed by Peter Jackson. Third Age of the Sun is the bands third release, and their symphonic brand of power/progressive/death/fantasy metal is in full force here. In fact, this album is so damn orchestral in nature, and contains so many moments of chilling atmosphere as well as bombast, that it really isn't fair to categorize it as an extreme metal album. Sure, the vocals of Tomi Mykkanen are straight out of the death metal camp, and he tears it up on "Trollshaws", but in most spots as well as on this tune, his growls are tempered by the angelic vocals of Kaisa Jouhki. Kaisa has a lovely voice, and mixed with Mykkanen's gutteral style makes for an almost "good vs. evil" set-up.

"Elves of Luva" is a haunting piece, with lilting guitar chords and Kaisa's passionate vocal delivery, and at the other end of the spectrum is the crushing & metallic "Valier-Queens of the Valar", which sees the two-guitar attack of Jussi Rautio and Jyri Vahvanen laying down a huge wall of guitar power opposite the symphonic keyboards of Maria. It's also on this piece that the male death and female clean vocals work really well off each other. Other highlights include the majestic gothic death metal of "Thousand Caves", the driving orchestral metal of "Of Orcs and Elves" (my favorite piece, and a great vehicle for the raging death vocals of Mykkanen), and the complex prog-metal of "Touch of Green and Gold".

Honestly, if you are a fan of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, you will get a kick out of this CD. If you're not, but you dig symphonic fantasy metal that features plenty of vocal styles, huge guitar riffs, and orchestral keyboards, then Third Age of the Sun will find regular rotation in your CD changer.

Track Listing
1) Usvainen Rhun
2) Storm Of The Blades
3) Ghan Of The Woods
4) Gwaith-I-Mirdain
5) Trollshaws
6) Elves Of Luva
7) Valier - Queens Of The Valar
8) Thousand Caves
9) Cloaked In Her Unlight
10) Of Orcs And Elves
11) Touch Of Green And Gold
12) Pallando - Forgotten Wizards I
13) Gollum's Cry

Added: March 23rd 2006
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Battlelore Website
Hits: 2356
Language: english

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Battlelore: Third Age of the Sun
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-03-23 08:08:39
My Score:

Napalm Records succeeds again in bringing you a very interesting band. Battlelore is an officially sanctioned group that performs in costume and settings based on the writings of author J.R.R. Tolkien and when you see their photos it's like looking at a promotional poster for "The Lord Of The Rings". It's a unique premise to say the least and when you listen to the whole piece you will find it's a very appealing mix of Traditional & Black Metal mixed with Operatic and Folk elements. The topics of the songs are based on the Tolkien works and sing of Orcs and Trolls (even Gollum has his own song). The group has a lot of great stuff going on and the female vocalist Kaisa surely can hold her own against contemporaries such as Liv Kristine while Mykkanen growls like his Black Metal peers. Leave it to Finland to offer this band up as the Country is making sure that Metal remains fresh and exciting. The group is made up of a whopping seven members and includes two Brothers with Kaisa Jouhki (vocals), Tomi Mykkanen (vocals), Jussi Rautio (lead guitars), Jyri Vahvanen (guitar), Timo Honkanen (bass), Maria (keyboards, flute), and Henri Vahvanen (drums). With a lot going on across the span of the album its difficult to judge at a first and second listen. You will find yourself needing a few more takes at it to fully absorb the deft complexity of their playing. The band will hold an appeal to not only fans of music like Korpiklaani and Fintroll or Leave's Eyes but also those that enjoy their music taking them to far away lands and fantastic places. Favored numbers on the release are "Valier – Queen Of The Valar", "Trollshaws" & "Cloaked In Her Unlight". Give this a listen and bear in mind the costume and mystique they bring to the table is far from cliché, it in fact touches levels of creativity that more Metal bands should take part in with their own bands. I recommend this 3rd album from the group and while I also have limited background in them I can safely say that "Third Age Of The Sun" is a fantastic place to begin your own explorations. Go there and back again with Battlelore.

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