Elvenking - Heathenreel review


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Band: Elvenking
Album: Heathenreel
Release date: 2001

01. To Oak Woods Bestowed
02. Pagan Purity
03. The Dweller Of Rhymes
04. The Regality Dance
05. White Willow
06. Skywards
07. Oakenshield
08. Hobs An' Feathers
09. Conjuring Of The 14th
10. A Dreadful Strain
11. Seasonspeech
12. Penny Dreadful [Skyclad cover] [Japanese bonus]

Elvenking - Heathenreel

"Elvenking"? What a lame name... I popped the cd in the stereo and this enchanting, luring folk tune flowed out.
I sat there, staring at the cover art, and the entangling tune combined with the cover suddenly made perfect sense to me. I had the feeling of breaking forest edge and being allured into untrodden territory. Then all of sudden, with an impact that would haunt me to this day, "Pagan Purity" kicks in. I almost fell of my chair... The tranquility was replaced with ecstasy, and there was no way back, for I was already deep within the woods of the kings. The tranquility never returns, and yet it does, just in a different form. One quickly adepts to Elvenking's flow, and the tranquility returns in form of endlessly catchy choruses. But the idea remains, of luring the listener into a place where he believes himself "safe" and then runs him over from head to toe.

This becomes crystal clear with "The Regality Dance"; the intro itself is so bold and corny that it's instantly charming. But it's the solo that will get you nailed. It's a sort of polka-inspirered riff that's bound to make you smile. Elvenking might be catchy, as is the case with the above mentioned tracks, but the truly unique beauty and charming part of this album is the mood it sets. Heathenreel is truly music that screams at you to get-up-get-out-do-something! It begs you to join its reel and jump, dance, sing, be welcome and be overwhelmed. And this is where Seasonspeech enters... Seasonspeech is a dialogue between the four seasons; again the melody twists, thrusts, bends, and flows - you never know whats comming next. This track is the most creative, innovative, and challenging track I have ever heard. The build up in the end is probably also the most genuis and most powerful use of choirs ever, and it's the only time a choir is truly present on the album, making it even more overwhelming. Then, as alluring as it started, it leaves you from a blast gently into a fading silence, totally contrary from the start of the album. And you're left with the feeling of: "WTF JUST HAPPENED!"

This is a very flattering review, but it deserves it. Heathenreel is a fresh blow, not only for power inspired metal, but for metal itself. The technical input from all the musiscians is top-notch; but the truly refreshing part is to hear a metal band who tries to rouse you, instead of burying you.

Heathenreel's only flaw is that it can easily be labeled "cheesy" or "happy" power metal, I can see why people don't care for Heathenreel, or Elvenking for that matter. But I dont understand or believe anyone could hate this album. I would encourage as many people as possible to give this album a chance, it is truly one of the gems of music.
This is only my try to summerize Heathenreel, the album goes way beyond 500 words.

Andreas Schwander

Rating breakdown
Performance: 10
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 10
Production: 7

Written by schwanderen | 24.06.2006


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

Staff review by
Debut album of these young Italians, Heathenreel bring us Folk metal at is finest form, by mixing melodic speed metal with folk influences and some medieval sounds Elvenking created something really interesting here.

The interesting thing about this debut is the variety in the vocal department, it goes from the typical power-metalish voice of Damnagoras to some nice death growls and a female singer, it really enhances the whole experience.

published 26.10.2003 | Comments (2)


Comments: 3   Visited by: 38 users
02.03.2008 - 19:29
Heaven Knight
me personally doesnt held this album so high as Winter Wake...but not bad piece of folk
So behold the flight of the sapphire dragon
soaring through the skies once again

26.10.2008 - 12:38
Red Nightmare
Really a fantastic album, good review.
IntoPlighT said: "Slipknot is 15 years old how the fuck is that Nu metal?"

09.12.2009 - 16:17
Liver Failure
Elvenking is not a lame nate, its pretty cool to me It is a very good album indeed.

member of the true crusade against old school heavy metal, early 80s thrash, NWOBHM, traditional doom, first and second wave black metal, old school death metal, US power metal, 70s prog rock and atmospheric doomsludgestoner. o/

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