Reviewed: March 2021
Released: 2021, Rockshot Records
Reviewer: Andrea Di Stasio
“War of The Jewels” is an ambitious album, through which Ainur aims to bring to life the battles of Beleriand: if don’t speak Tolkien, you may already be lost, as the progressive rock orchestra’s new release is all about the “Simarillion”, and specifically, the ancient conflicts that came after the creation of the Simarils.
The album represents a new beginning for the band, a rebirth, where we can see an evolution and a different tone from the previous works: in line with the war theme, the sound is more aggressive, sometimes sharp like the fire of the battle and the weapons used by the protagonists.
“War of The Jewels” sets the scene with “Fate Disclosed”, the opening track, where the drums and the voice of Ted Nasmith convey a sullen atmosphere, almost theatrical.
In the following 70 minutes of music, Ainur narrates epic tales, painting a rich universe that can be, however, overwhelming at times: the instruments seem to suffocate the vocals, deafening the story itself.
Roberto Tiranti (Labyrinth), the guest vocalist in “Spirit of Fire”, delivers, instead, a solid performance, energetic like the guitar riffs that accompany his voice; this eighth track, dedicated to Fëanor, the mightiest of the Elves, is definitely one of my favourites. A special mention also goes to “Apocalypse”, the closing track where the atmosphere gets lighter, as the song marks a new beginning after the fall of Morgoth, the Dark Lord: I personally loved the use of the strings followed by a vocal crescendo and a timeless hard rock solo.
Ainur aimed high, and despite all my respect for their hard work and their musical skills I have found myself having to force myself to concentrate on the music: sometimes less is more, and I wish that they had kept that in mind. “War of the Jewels”, could have been an epic album, instead it’s a decent product where I have sometimes struggled to find a real soul in.
Nonetheless, I appreciate the band’s courage in approaching a monumental opera like “The Simarillion” and their skills: I wouldn’t mind seeing them live, where I am sure that their undeniable talent would emerge much more.