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Elvenking: The Winter Wake

After the first very casual listen, it was easy to dismiss this music as a barrage of almost omnipresent distorted power chords and a vocal attitude that recalls the belligerence of punk and the on rare occasion, aggression of death metal. But listen again. Those characteristics mask some the really interesting aspects of The Winter Wake. This is progressive-oriented power metal that has enough approachability to yield it broad acceptance in today's tough metal markets.

The title track is like a microcosm of the whole album and features an interesting mix of a sing-along anthemic male chorus, death-like growls, clean singing, a female backing chorus, a lively violin, acoustic guitar and keyboards - all interacting with the full metal lineup. The result is a rich, slightly bombastic piece in the vein of the newest developments in power metal. There are huge well-managed tempo switches that run from from heavy metal to acoustic sections, from angry to mellow; from well-executed power metal to punk to prog to folk. Imagine three fourths Blind Guardian and one fourth Green Carnation - all peppered by influences from Therion and Rhapsody.

With its big female choruses traded with a lead singer now employing standard metal-styled vocals, "Neverending Nights" may have you thinking of a lite version of Rhapsody's 'Hollywood metal'. "Rouse Your Dream" features passages with the acoustic tones of the violin - then the piano - trading contrasting lines with a guitar playing heavy, distorted metallic power chords. Very pleasing. It's interesting to see how the relatively small number of lead guitar lines have been displaced by that Ragsdale-like violin. Listen to "The Wanderer", in which the violin and the distorted guitar - playing off the bass strings only - track each other perfectly through most of the song in an interesting match of Irish-reel meets full-out metal.

The multiple vocalists employ a good range of styles, but he don't excel in any of them. Yet it's the moods, the atmosphere, the changing tempos and the vibe that will make The Winter Wake a must-have for power-metal fans, and an interesting diversion for prog-metal fans.

Track Listing:

  1. Trows Kind
  2. Swallowtail
  3. The Winter Wake
  4. The Wanderer
  5. March Of Fools
  6. On The Morning Dew
  7. Devil's Carriage
  8. Rats Are Following
  9. Rouse Your Dream
  10. Neverending Nights
  11. Disillusion's Reel
  12. Penny Dreadful (bonus track)

Added: July 8th 2006
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Related Link: Elvenking's Web Page
Hits: 2142
Language: english

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