Reviewed: August, 2020
Released: 2020, Recordjet
Reviewer: Pete Mutant
Elmsfire have been about since 1999 and have had two full lengths and a few demos up until this point. The band from Düsseldorf have been in a bit of a transition again as they shake up the lineup of the band. Nothing new as this was an occurrence for the band’s last album, 2016’s ‘Hour Of The Wolf’, so it’s no surprise that the members have had a bit of a shuffle here. The main core of founders, both guitarists as well, Germano Sanna and Doro hold the foundations together as more members join the Elmsfire tome of history.
Most notably, they’ve acquired the vocal talents of Ross Thompson who many may know from the a cappella act Van Canto. I checked out Van Canto and had to browse from YouTube for the next while as it fired the blood in a not-so-positive way. I had already listened to ‘Wings Of Reckoning’ beforehand so I was aware of Ross’ vocal talents as he gives quite a strong performance on the eight tracks of the album that he has contributed to. They also included the vocal talents of Michael Baum on tracks such as the single released ‘Croghan’ so there’s a mix of vocals on the album.
The second track really encompasses what Elmsfire are all about. They implement some classic heavy and melodic metal at a power metal tempo with hints of thrash touched in between. The single ‘Croghan’ itself serves as another fine example of a track to sum up the band. It also shows the depth in variety of musicianship that the band displays at points throughout the album. It’s pretty cleverly assembled and has a strong flow to the music as each track bleeds into the next. There are some intros at the start of the album and near the midway point which build the atmosphere using multi-lingual speech with the former being in Spanish and the latter in Japanese.
Elmsfire also implement some clever covers with Ozzy Osbourne’s ’Slayer Of Giants’ and Slayer’s ‘Crionics’ to mix things up a little at sensible points of the album. They are positioned well in between the original tracks in the second half of the album and are performed reasonably well. The cover of ‘Crionics’ sounds half a step slower than the originators but it injects some more heaviness after the lighter and more melodic ‘Rise From Tartarus’.
‘Wings Of Reckoning’ is a bit of a journey with lots of different stops a long the way. In ways it’s a fulfilling journey and at other points is lacking somewhat but there’s nothing too disagreeable about the music and album as a whole. A couple of detractions of note would be the drum mix and some of the pedestrian ‘heavier’ riffs but these aren’t points that would ruin the band’s hard work. There’s plenty to like within this album with lots of variety for many metal heads. It might not blow your socks off but you still might get a little bit burned by the Elmsfire.