Released: 2000, Independent/AFM Records
Where does one start dissecting an album as kick ass as this? Elvenking have stormed forth with one of the most exciting underground releases that I’ve heard in quite some time; TOWB being a truly blistering piece of symphonic power metal. Fans of Rhapsody, Labyrinth and any other Italian power metal, take note, ‘cause Elvenking is the next in line for your ears! Where Elvenking make their difference to the scene, however, is that they are quite liberal in applying medieval folk elements and instrumentation to their music. This helps the band maintain an original sound while still playing in a quickly over-filling power metal genre.
Starting with a quick opening instrumental, Elvenking quickly speed into “White Willow” which is a full-fledged speedster. This is the first full song on the CD and the band waste no time in proving their originality by throwing in the medieval elements. Singer Damnagoras has a great voice that fits in nicely with the Fabio Lione’s (Rhapsody’s lead singer) of the world. What is more striking about the vocals though, is the fact that the band is not afraid to toss in some death vocals(!) when it is appropriate (see the end of “Oakenshield” and 2:29-2:40 of “White Willow”). In fact, while all the parts of this album are amazing, it is the vocals that standout. Damnagoras is great on his own, but the band also add in “gang” vocals and female vocals to add variety to the work.
Following along comes “Banquet of Bards” which continues the speedy pace of “White Willow”. This is a great power metal song that fits in nicely. “Oakenshield” is a tour-de-force of medieval metal, guitars trading off with keyboards, in the best song on the CD. Closing the album is an older song (one of the first songs written by the band), “Under the Tree of Us’dum” (say what?) which is the song that most reminds me of Rhapsody what with all the majestic orchestration mixed in with the speed. This song highlights the fact that Elvenking aren’t afraid to show their collective skills by getting a little bit progressive (same goes for “Oakenshield”). I could go on and on about how great this new band is, but I wanna go listen to them some more. Power metal fans, take note, the Elvenking has arrived! Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit their homepage at: http://www.elvenking.atfreeweb.com