Elvenking - Secrets Of The Magick Grimoire review



Reviewer:
8.6

42 users:
8.48
Band: Elvenking
Album: Secrets Of The Magick Grimoire
Release date: November 2017


01. Invoking The Woodland Spirit
02. Draugen's Maelstrom
03. The One We Shall Follow
04. The Horned Ghost And The Sorcerer
05. A Grain Of Truth
06. The Wolves Will Be Howling Your Name
07. 3 Ways To Magick
08. Straight Inside Your Winter
09. The Voynich Manuscript
10. Summon The Dawn Light
11. At The Court Of The Wild Hunt
12. A Cloak Of Dusk
13. Petalstorm [Digipack bonus]
14. The Open Breach [Digipack bonus]
15. Jigsaw Puzzle [2010 version] [Digipack bonus]
16. Skywards [2008 version] [Digipack bonus]


All right, I give up; I've noticed you, Elvenking.

Elvenking and I have enjoyed a "will they, won't they" relationship ever since my earliest exposures to power metal (some time around the release of Two Tragedy Poets, if I had to guess). This band always seemed to lie somewhere on the outskirts of my power metal preferences, for one reason or another - but The Pagan Manifesto finally turned my head for more than a minute, and when "The Horned Ghost And The Sorceror" hit the streets, I knew I had to sit down and start taking Elvenking seriously.

Elvenking's brand of power metal owes a heavy debt to folk metal, and you can hear in the strings and woodwinds responding to the heavier elements a palpable strain of high fantasy. The broad palette of instrumentation and varied, near-constant backing vocals add to the crowded woodlands feel, and the occasional "folk breakdown" doesn't hurt. Elvenking casts a wide net, keeping a handle on its core aesthetic but pulling in all manner of tangential affectations to continue building the album's sound. "A Grain Of Truth," for example, steps into both melodeath and symphonic metal, and the effortless way that various instruments weave in and out of the songs' melodies allows for numerous layers in every piece. Listen to how the opening of "The Voynich Manuscript" suddenly detours into a few measures of sparkling acoustic magic in between charging power-thrash. It isn't necessary, but it makes the song that much more interesting and flavorful; Secrets Of The Magick Grimoire is packed with such small details that make every successive playthrough more rewarding and enlightening.

I don't have much intimate experience with Elvenking's music, but what I do know of their back catalogue suggests that Secrets Of The Magick Grimoire represents the band at its most artistically mature. The band can balance the most delicate and most crushing elements of the several genres it spans, resulting in an album that doesn't sound like any one style and yields new insights with every spin. Damna's raspy croon makes him sound like a power metal Rod Stewart, but fortunately he has been derailed from asking the question of whether or not I think he's sexy by all these epic chants of fay forestry. He has a light, clean enough voice to sell the balladic elements, but he can fill his lungs to lead a frenzied folk metal charge over blastbeats. The richness and independence of the lead guitars meshes seamlessly with any power or folk metal passage in a very '90s Blind Guardian way, but on "3 Ways To Magick" the harmonies sound almost like classic UFO, and they remain convincing when amped up for the thrashiest moments.

The song that hooked me, "The Horned Ghost And The Sorceror," remains my favorite track for the time being, but the furiously epic "Invoking The Woodland Spirit," "A Grain Of Truth," "At The Court Of The Wild Hunt," and "The Voynich Manuscript" form equally important parts of my 2017 power metal playlist. My score has increased with each time I listen to the album, and I'm sure it will continue to do so, but I've got to publish this review some time, right?


Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 8


 



Written on 12.11.2017 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.


Comments

Comments: 9   Visited by: 175 users
13.11.2017 - 07:09
mikeprado30
Indeed a very great album!

I'm still awaiting they come someday to Costa Rica.
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BARDS WE ARE, BARDS WE WILL BE!
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13.11.2017 - 15:23
farfaramir
So glad to hear this. The Pagan Manifesto was excellent, Im really looking foward to this one.
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13.11.2017 - 17:50
bddidier
A really good album, quite diverse as you pointed out and really good vocals.
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13.11.2017 - 18:31
Coconut Racecar
At first glance, the album art looked like someone in a cloak flashing their butt cheeks.
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13.11.2017 - 21:04
Nick Carter
I feel is a lil step back from the Pagan Manifesto, but Pagan Manifesto was great, really great.
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#MetalIsForEveryone
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13.11.2017 - 21:07
MétalNoir
Fils du Lys
Elvenking is the only Power band I've constantly enjoyed ever since The Scythe. Damna's vocals are just great and all musicians are at least very good. The Folk elements bring catchiness, while thrashy/melodeath bits pour some balls into the mix. And they like to experiment, unlike most Power bands (Rhapsody, I'm looking at you). This album is no exception.
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Notre destinée n'est pas encore tracée....
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15.11.2017 - 08:58
Teravolt_Danny
Written by Nick Carter on 13.11.2017 at 21:04

I feel is a lil step back from the Pagan Manifesto, but Pagan Manifesto was great, really great.


Completely agree. Whenever the first single came out (Draughens Maelstrom) I thought "great, this is going to sound like an album of b-sides from TPM," but the rest of the album ended up being very good.

Musically, I think it is better than TPM. But the vocal catchiness is not quite as prevalent. My favorite track, by far, is "The Voynich Manuscript." It's based on an awesome topic, it's very diverse, the chorus is great, and the last minute sounds a lot like Cradle of Filth.
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16.11.2017 - 07:03
Teravolt_Danny
Http://metalstorm.net/users/NICK+VAN+ORTON/profile

Can the mods not ban these vote-abusing f*cks who consistently vote-abuse so that their favorite bands (usually bands like Cannibal Corpse and Slayer, I've noticed) have their new albums higher on the charts? It's starting to get pretty old and pathetic, and it's ruining the rating system.
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16.11.2017 - 10:25
Andreas
Written by Teravolt_Danny on 16.11.2017 at 07:03

Http://metalstorm.net/users/NICK+VAN+ORTON/profile

Can the mods not ban these vote-abusing f*cks who consistently vote-abuse so that their favorite bands (usually bands like Cannibal Corpse and Slayer, I've noticed) have their new albums higher on the charts? It's starting to get pretty old and pathetic, and it's ruining the rating system.

I've noticed the same. I checked out some albums I just got or which I'm interested in, and it's always the same people downvoting them and upvoting other albums which are conveniently in the top 20 of this year. A few try to keep things subtle with 5s or 6s.
I can imagine this kind of thing also goes for albums I don't really care about, so I think it would serve the website if mods would do something about them.
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