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Of Dragons And Elves
Released: 2013, Indie
There is an old saying that ‘practice makes perfect’ and that phrase applies very well to Evertale. This German quartet has been kicking around since 1997. After one independent album (under the name Blackened) they switched up to Evertale, put out one EP in 2008 and now finally five years hence, we get to hear the true debut of Evertale. It may have taken them ABOUT 16 years to get that magic sound but like I said, practice makes perfect and OF DRAGONS AND ELVES is about a flawless debut you can get.
First impressions are important and the cover art is certainly eye-catching. They have designed a very good logo and the art was done by Felipe Franco (Blind Guardian, Iced Earth, Rage, Rhapsody etc) one of the hottest artists in Metal these days. Lyrically the album is based on the Chronicles of Dragonlance, the popular fantasy novels first published in 1984 as a spin-off of the equally popular game Dungeons & Dragons.
Musical impressions are equally strong as this independent debut is one of the strongest albums I have heard this year. The long album contains 14 songs and runs well over an hour with most of the songs running in the 6-7 minute range. The production and presentation quality is incredibly high, easily equal to any of the big names in the epic Metal genre. Despite some obvious comparisons to genre titans like Blind Guardian and Rhapsody Of Fire, the band has enough character and individuality to stand on their own. The band includes some subtle folk-elements as heard on the ballad-like, title track which is a delicate and beautiful campfire ballad with harmonized vocals and acoustic guitar punctuated at about the half-way mark with a huge power burst, before settling back down. Elsewhere the epic, symphonic sounds are laced through the album adding enormous atmosphere and sonic variation. The band are still content to just ‘let it rip’ as heard on cuts like ‘Eleven Twilight’, ‘The Crownguard’s Quest’ and the lead-off cut, ‘In The Sign Of The Valient Warrior’. The guitars soar, the vocals of are multi-faceted and powerful and the drumming of Martin Schumacher as many interesting tempo changes to keep it interesting. There are many backing vocals, not quite ‘gang-vocals’ but lots of layers like an army of bards telling the tales of dragons and elves. The choruses are huge! You also have to admire a tale that, after not one, but two huge introductory sonic flourishes, sets the stage with the lyrics, “Once upon a time, far beyond in a distant land...”
OF DRAGONS AND ELVES is truly a magnificent debut, a bright-light in a very strong and competitive genre. It will not be long before some label scoops them up. Dynamic, diverse interesting and well played, pair this up with the indie debut by Australia’s Bane Of Winterstorm and you have a huge one-two, knock-out punch of amazing indie debut albums, both highlights of 2013.
1. Paladine's Embrace
2. In the Sign of the Valiant Warrior
3. Tale of the Everman
4. The Dragon's Lair
5. Of Dragons and Elves
7. As Tarsis Falls
8. The Crownguard's Quest
9. Dawn of Winter Night
10. The Last Knight
11. Sturm's Funeral March
13. Brothers in War (Forever Damned)
14. The Final Page
Matthias Graf Vocals, Guitar
Matthias Holzapfel Guitar
Marco Bächle Bass
Martin Schumacher Drums
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