Released: 2010, AFM Records
Reviewer: Theis Rytoft
RED SILENT TIDES is the 6th studio album from the Italian folk/power metallers in Elvenking. Their somewhat unique style has earned them a solid and loyal group of fans. The latest release, TWO TRAGEDY POETS … AND A CARAVAN OF WEIRD FIGURES, was an (experimental and) acoustic album which a number of bands embracing folk elements tend to release these years. That is not bad, not at all. However in Elvenking’s case it was not the best album even though it marked a shift back to the style of pre-THE SCYTHE.
RED SILENT TIDES was for me the album where ELVENKING hopefully would return, more or less, to some of the fundamental elements of HEATHENREEL/WYRD, and to some extent those of THE WINTER WAKE. Here we have the problem: RED SILENT TIDES is a whole new chapter in itself.
This release incorporates many elements from catchy choruses to the unique sound of folk metal. Mix this up with riffs and a (stereotypical) power metal sound you are a bit closer to what RED SILENT TIDES actually is. The melodies are a big part of the musical output and they tend to be pleasant and make me move my toes to the rhythm, but they are also tedious and even tiresome at points. The violin plays a unique role in Elvenking as it adds a distinct flavour to the, at many times, uninteresting sound of this album.
The melodies on the album are not the negative element dragging it down: songs such as “What’s Left of Me” and “The Play of the Leaves” show how well Elvenking can spin a catchy melody. The problem, however, is how monotonous the tracks are when you compile them: they are simply too average and non-experimental. Sure, there are surprising moments but after many listens it is still (very) difficult to distinguish the sound of many of the tracks from each other.
This aspect of repetitiveness is roughly evident throughout the whole album in both the musical composition and the vocal performance: The vocals are appealing but, again, very average. At many points they suit the style of Elvenking and at others it does not.
Overall RED SILENT TIDES presents a more “mainstream” expression compared to previous Elvenking releases: By that I mean it does not possess many “edges” and will likely appeal to listeners across the spectrum (sub-genres of metal/heavy metal).
RED SILENT TIDES is an album with a lot of contradictions: It contains elements of catchiness, diverse melodies and good compositions. In spite of this it is on an average level and the sound quickly becomes monotonous and non-compelling.
There is no doubt about Elvenking having much talent, else I would not be as big a fan of them as I am, but they need to show that the level of their first releases can be reached again. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely.