Rating:
6.5
Battlelore - Sword's Song
2003


01. Sons Of Riddermark
02. Sword's Song
03. The Mark Of The Bear
04. Buccaneers Inn
05. Attack Of The Orcs
06. Dragonslayer
07. Khazad-Dûm Pt. 2 (Silent Caverns)
08. Horns Of Gondor
09. The War Of Wrath
10. Forked Height
11. Starlight Kingdom
12. The Curse Of The Kings [bonus]


True to their name, the Middle-Earth warlords produced a saga that tells the tales of the War of the Ring: Elves, Orcs, Hobbits and Dwarves evolving in the fabled lands of Gondor, Rohan and Mordor. If you're a Lord of the Rings fan, you shouldn't be lost in the names. But let'S pa attention to the music, shall we?

The album starts out with a slow intro entitled Sons of Riddermark. Nothing epic here, and growls are scarce. The boring female vocals throw in here and there, adding virtually nothing. And that goes on for almost all the album, except some highlights every two or three tracks. The first one is the title track, which comes second after the boring Sons of Riddermark. Sword's Song is catchy and has fast drumming, and the vocals are good, although that girl's voice definitely isn't catchy, nor powerful. Maybe a little beautiful, but nothing impressive. The keyboards create an epic atmosphere, but that's what the whole album is: atmospheric, not symphonic. Next highlight is track 4, Buccaneers Inn, probably the most folkish song on this album. Seventh track Khazad-dum is our third highlight. It's more brutal than the rest of the album, and it's also more epic. The girl's voice is less annoying on this track for some reason... The fourth highlight is The War of Wrath. Don't ask me why, it's just better than the eight boring songs of the album.

On the whole, a long and average album with very rare good tracks. I can't stand the girl's voice, she has no power and it sounds more like whining than singing, actually. The metal instrumentation is nothing impressive, though the drums are tolerable, and the keyboards save many tracks that would sound empty if the atmospheric touch wasn't there. Sword's Song sounds like an attempt to sound like an atmospheric version of Eternal Tears Of Sorrow, but it's a mess, unfortunately. Even though I must admit Battlelore was a better band when they released Sword's Song (Evernight is even worse), they were nothing original or talented, in my opinion. And that's a shame, because I like their idea in the beginning, but the result is not as grand.

If you like female-fronted bands like Sirenia or Tristania, you should like this album. But if you're expecting symphonic grandeur or high technicality, you'll be disappointed.

Performance: 7
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Production: 8


Band profile: Battlelore
Album: Sword's Song


 


written by MétalNoir | 06.08.2009


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



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dismaleuphony - 22.12.2009 at 05:01  
I'm unsure where to begin here. I think we all realize you dislike the female vocals in the album, but I find it unnecessary to repeat it over and over again. It seems you expect this album to be "epic". Epic is a vague term that so many metalheads throw around, but it can mean different things - besides the fact that Battlelore may not have intended to be "epic" in the way that you want, or even at all.

You seem to highlight a few tracks, but then inform us "Don't ask me why, it's just better" regarding "The War Of Wrath". I'm not sure how that helps the reader, let alone it offered me no understanding of what the good points of the band's talents could have been?

And please enlighten me on the EToS reference. I was a Eternal Tears Of Sorrow fan long before Battlelore released this, and yet I fail to see the connection outside of homeland. I also find the recommendation of Tristania a bit off, as the only thing they have in common is a female singer.

Yes, I love this album, but I've also seen some smart criticisms of it, but this is not it, sorry.
MétalNoir - 22.12.2009 at 19:34  
Written by dismaleuphony on 22.12.2009 at 05:01

I'm unsure where to begin here. I think we all realize you dislike the female vocals in the album, but I find it unnecessary to repeat it over and over again. It seems you expect this album to be "epic". Epic is a vague term that so many metalheads throw around, but it can mean different things - besides the fact that Battlelore may not have intended to be "epic" in the way that you want, or even at all.

You seem to highlight a few tracks, but then inform us "Don't ask me why, it's just better" regarding "The War Of Wrath". I'm not sure how that helps the reader, let alone it offered me no understanding of what the good points of the band's talents could have been?

And please enlighten me on the EToS reference. I was a Eternal Tears Of Sorrow fan long before Battlelore released this, and yet I fail to see the connection outside of homeland. I also find the recommendation of Tristania a bit off, as the only thing they have in common is a female singer.

Yes, I love this album, but I've also seen some smart criticisms of it, but this is not it, sorry.


Well, I wrote this a while ago, and I must admit it's not my best review on this site... So, I'll try to answer your many critics:
1- Female vocals can be great in metal, but I'd rather Battlelore would be fronted by an opera singer or just a man instead of this girl... But, yes, I kinda overdid it, here.
2- Battlelore obviously want to be epic, and I'm not confused at all about what's epic or not, it's pretty simple: if it sends shivers down your spine or makes you wanna leave your life to become an adventurer, it's epic... When you play Lord of the Rings-metal with keyboards, isn't it what you intend to do?
3- Some tracks are just good, and War Of Wrath is good. I guess it's the heavy guitar and the catchy keyboard melody...
4- Both EToS and Battlelore play a metal that combines symphonic keyboards, growled and clean female vocals and power metal influences.
5- If you love this album, that's your right. I don't, even though I must admit the title track is my favorite Battlelore song.

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