See past Featured Artists
Elvenking - Featured Artist
Compiled & written in October 2001
Elvenking are easily one of my favorite NEW bands. The style of music
played by the band is what sets them apart. Some call it "medieval
metal" or "folk metal." It is clear to me that the band has
it's roots in power metal, but they are not a mere carbon copy of other
bands. The incorporated folk melodies is the main ingredient that
differentiates them from the pack. You've probably head bands like Blind
Guardian and Luca Turilli use folk elements but in my opinion Elvenking
are more folk and less "classical" then either of these.
Elvenking are not afraid to include some "blackend death metal"
vocals. Hardly any power metal bands have done that while still keeping
the clean vocals! The end result is a band which might take you a few
listens to wrap your mind around, but after 5-6 listens, if you are open
to this style of music, you will LOVE the band! At least, that's how it
was for me!
Regarding the band's sound and style in the band's own words: "Elvenking
set themselves the objective of finding a formula which can combine metal,
folk music and extreme sounds in a unique mixture, with lyrics based on
the pagan worship of nature and on the tradition of folkloristic
The band's 2000 demo entitled To
Oak Woods Bestowed caught my ear as something unique and fresh. That
is no small feat considering I hear so many underground and unsigned bands
for review purposes here at Metal-Rules.com. It was not until I heard
their new full length album Heathenreel
(2001) that the potential hinted at on their demo was fully realized.
Let's take a look at who these guys are with a brief background.
Elvenking formed four years ago in October 1997. The two founding members
were the band's guitarists Aydan and Jarpen. There were several line up
changes in the formation period of the band. By March 1998, the two had
found their vocalist, Damnagoras. Later the same year in September, Zender
was recruited for the the drum position. The bass player at this time was
a fellow known as Sargon. After playing live with this line-up for some
time the band decided it was time to record a promo album to generate
label interest in the band. It was at this time that their bass player,
Sargon, left the bad for the usual cited reason "musical
differences." The band had little success at finding a replacement
bassist at this time so they decided to record their demo/promo album To
Oak Woods Bestowed as a four piece with vocalist Damnagoras doing
double duty for bass and vocals. The band huddled in the studio "New
Sin Audio Design" at Loria, near Treviso (Italy) for nine days to
record the demo.
The CD was complete and five songs were ready to be heard. They
include: TO OAK WOODS BESTOWED, WHITE WILLOW, BANQUET OF BARDS,
OAKENSHIELD and UNDER THE TREE OF US'DUM. As was hoped this demo attracted
label interest and the band picked what they thought was the best offer
from the Germany label AFM
the deal was signed the band began working on material for their first
full length album. A new bass player was added the the line-up - Gorlan.
He is a friend of Aydan and Jarpen and as such first helped the band out
as a session player and was then asked to be a permanent member. The
writing for the new album focused on an "extreme" evolution in
the band's sound concentrating on the contrast between folk melodies (with
the use of classical instruments such as flutes and fiddles) and
aggressive riffs. The name of the band's debut album (released July 23rd
2001) is entitled Heathenreel.
It contains 12 tracks which include: TO OAK WOODS BESTOWED, PAGAN PURITY,
THE DWELLER OF RHYMES, THE REGALITY DANCE, WHITE WILLOW, SKYWARDS,
OAKENSHIELD, HOBS AN' FEATHERS, CONJURING OF THE 14Th, A DREADFUL STRAIN
and SEASONSPEECH. The Japanese version contains a cover of Skyclad's PENNY
DREADFUL. The album was recorded in Italy at New Sin Audio Design by Luigi
Stefanini and mixed in Sweden at Fredman Studios by renown metal producer,
Fredrik Nordstrom. The cover artwork is also by a very well known artist
in the metal community - Travis Smith.
Perhaps the crowning glory on the album is the track "Seasonspeech."
It has FOUR vocal parts that blend together in a intricate but
understandable way....very adventuresome! In the band's own words on this
track they say:
My favourite song of the album, doubtless! It has a lot of different
parts and feelings but it proves to be easy to listen at! It is an
evolution of a song called "The honours". While I was writing
the lyrics I had the idea to use four different voices, personifying the
four seasons. The effect listening at the weave between Damna's vocals,
Jarpen's horrid growls, and the magic voices of Mrs Pauline Tacey and
Laura DeLuca is absolutely amazing! The acoustic break is great (I added
the second part of it the last day before entering the studios!) and the
choirs-finale simply gives me the shivers!!!
I think, like all the others elves, that "Seasonspeech" is
one of the best tracks of the album. I enjoyed writing every part I did
for it and I loved to sing that splendid acoustic part in the middle.
This track expresses feelings and emotions from each single note!
this is my favourite song too! It's very various, the 4 different voices
mix themselves perfectly, the acoustic guitar and the flute make a very
folkish tune, the out-of-mind singing of Damnagoras in the middle is
absolute crazy! Great!
What the fuck!! This is also my favourite song!!! The folkish
atmosphere here is totally tangible. The blast part in the middle is
quite fantastic....before the marvellous final chorus I can't hear my
bass...but it's ok!!!
News Current To October 2001
Since the release of Heathenreel
the band has been getting excellent reviews!! In Italy, the album is reportedly
a "big success" with Italian magazines giving excellent reviews
like Flash with 95/100, Metal Hammer (5/6), www.metallus.it
(5/6). The rave reviews are not only coming from Italy where the CD is
selling very well, but also in the other European countries (Greece,
Spain, Sweden, Holland, etc.) and even in the United States and Canada,
where the CD can be ordered through
Metal-Rules.com (rated 5/5).
More news on the band and more background information is in our
interview with Elvenking's guitarist, Aydan. This will be online and
linked form here in a few days!
Until then, check the band out and ENJOY!!!
If you are interested you can order
HEATHENREEL here. Be sure to check out the band's fine website at www.elvenking.net.