Rating:
8.3
Battlelore - Doombound
28 January 2011


Disc I [CD]
01. Bloodstained
02. Iron Of Death
03. Bow And Helm
04. Enchanted
05. Kärmessurma
06. Olden Gods
07. Fate Of The Betrayed
08. Men As Wolves
09. Last Of The Lords
10. Doombound
11. Kielo [Instrumental]

Disc II [Limited Edition DVD]
01. Live At Club Nosturi 2009
    1 - Green Dragon
    2 - Swordmaster
    3 - House Of Heroes
    4 - Moontower
    5 - The Great Gathering
02. Live At Club Nosturi 2008
    1 - Storm Of The Blades
    2 - Valier - Queens Of The Valar
    3 - We Are The Legions
    4 - Sons Of Riddermark
    5 - Ghan Of The Woods
    6 - Raging Goblin
03. Music Videos
    1 - Third Immortal
    2 - House Of Heroes
    3 - Storm Of The Blades
    4 - Journey To Undying Lands
04. Tour Videos
    1 - Evernight Over Europe 2007
    2 - Last Alliance In Finland 2008
+ Photo Gallery


With the spirit of a fearless warrior's legacy and the solemn reflection of a man finally succumbing to his cursed fate, Battlelore memorialize and honor the life of the Tolkien character Túrin Turambar. Through a mixture of symphonic metal intertwined with folk, melodic death and power metal touches, Doombound forges a somber landscape of sword-raising journeys, bittersweet moments of victory, and an inescapable cloud of personal darkness that follows and finally overtakes the hero in eternal night and in his fearless demise.

Gone are my concerns that my interest in the band's music would continue to wane as it had done with their previous release, which too often felt like a tired leader, and instead I find myself galvanized by the emotional and musical balance that persists throughout the new album. Assertive drumming, gripping and pained growls, and coarse riffs appear just as the numerous layers of celebratory synths, stalwart spoken words and picturesque clean vocals take over. And, finally, like the hero's futile attempts to outwit and outrun his predestined end, the drumming inevitably slows to heavy footsteps, the riffs fade to softer chords, and the vocals become vulnerable outpourings of inner struggles. Doombound is at once the reflection of a blood-soaked blade as the vicious dragon is slain as it is the curtain call for a burdened man who can only find solace in death.

While Battlelore's music has always been vocally oriented, the prevailing pulse of this album derives from its seamless layers of Maria Honkanen's multi-purposed symphonics and drummer Henri Vahvanen's renewed sense of familiar, yet calculated tempo shifts. "Iron Of Death" begins with a determined charge of Henri's drums while Maria's keys swirl above them like evergreens caught in a chaotic updraft, personifying the unavoidable path the hero takes as he tries to cast his grief to the skies. The thunderous switch to a pounding, heavy-footed tempo and murky cloud of synths only serve to underline the vocalists' claims that death will forever be our protagonist's companion. In "Last Of The Lords," Maria's ominous atmospheres again open the song, creating a air of decaying reminiscence that prevails throughout it, leading to a shadowlike guitar solo finish, courtesy of guest Dan Swanö, that echoes through the halls of the dead.

The guitars of Jyri Vahvanen and Jussi Rautio act like constant stream of energy more than a driving force most of the time, and shift from a determined rush of melodic death riffs and tremolo picking in songs like "Bow And Helm" to the calm melodic picking and chords of "Enchanted." Even in "Kärmessurma," where the riff is one of Battlelore's most memorable yet, its prevailing role is a mountainous backdrop to the ever-present vocals of Tomi Mykkänen and Kaisa Jouhki, who provide intimate, yet timeless anecdotes to Túrin Turambar's tragedy.

Tomi's approach is one of diversity, from the gruff cries of "Fate Of The Betrayed" and the exasperated groans of "Doombound," to the fist-raising growls throughout "Olden Gods." There is a believability that I missed on the band's last few releases that he evokes on Doombound, one that makes me find grains of bloodstained dirt in my eyes long after the album has finished. Kaisa's style continues her familiar approach, here mirroring the consistent teardrops that fall from the hero's eyes even as he readies for battle. Like a vision of a peaceful cemetery that lurks in the corner of your eye, Kaisa's vocals provide an opaque goblet of despair to drink from in "Men As Wolves," and are able to pause even the heartiest of men in "Kärmessurma." From her balladesque start to "Enchanted," her singing is that placid clearing one finds after escaping a harrowing experience, where the lake's waters barely move and visions of loved ones overcome you as you rest a precious few hours.

With additions like dreary cello melodies and Maria's flute interludes that drift into the distance as our hero's curse comes to a climax, Doombound finds the somber and singular road that it seems Battlelore has searched for on their recent albums but had yet to discover. While more an evolution than reinvention of their sound on this release, they are content in their own style enough to stake their blade in the ground, but also strong enough to retell a man's burdensome legacy with a revitalized atmosphere that will be part of the lore for an age yet to come.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 9


Band profile: Battlelore
Album: Doombound


 


written by dismaleuphony | 08.02.2011



Comments

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Enemy of Reality - 08.02.2011 at 00:31  
This is the best Battlelore album imo. I like the fact that they didn't succumb to the folk metal trend.
Instead this is their most agressive and dark album to date. Yet it has catchy choruses and mighty metallic riffs.
I gave it a 9 out of 10.
dismaleuphony - 08.02.2011 at 01:04  
I'd like to also mention that buying the limited edition with the bonus DVD is well worth it, particularly for those who have yet to see the band live, and it's filmed with solid yet not overly polished camera work and production that brings out a casual and realistic live atmosphere.
IronAngel - 08.02.2011 at 01:31  
Hmm, I need to give this a chance. I listened to it a little bit, but I felt it had the problem that already annoyed me with Battlelore. Namely, that they're jack-of-all-trades who try to be epic, dark, catchy, aggressive, atmospheric and folky at the same time and fail at all of them because of it. It's not that they're bad, they just seem so underwhelming and lackluster. But because this and other reviews have praised the album, I guess I'll listen to it a few times.
Luneth - 08.02.2011 at 03:36  
I think this is one of Battlelore's best, difficult to decide between this and Evernight.
RavenKing - 08.02.2011 at 03:45  
Written by IronAngel on 08.02.2011 at 01:31

Hmm, I need to give this a chance. I listened to it a little bit, but I felt it had the problem that already annoyed me with Battlelore. Namely, that they're jack-of-all-trades who try to be epic, dark, catchy, aggressive, atmospheric and folky at the same time and fail at all of them because of it. It's not that they're bad, they just seem so underwhelming and lackluster.


I think this band is lackluster in all departments and I'm still convinced almost no one would give a shit at their boring and crappy music if it wasn't for the Tolkien themes. Their music is simply directionless and does not flow at all.
All image, no substance. One of the most boring band ever.
And ridiculously overrated.
annodomini - 08.02.2011 at 07:43  
Well usually I agree with you, but not this time. I found this one of the worse Battlelore releases. So dull, so uninspiring. But I guess I should give it another try.
Dragzad - 08.02.2011 at 12:13  
Well I find this album great, and for me it is their best (it is even better than Sword's Song, which for me was their peak).Definately a great album.
Dark Cornatus - 09.02.2011 at 01:28  
I like your review because you are not biased. If i reviewed it i would probably put in that it was boring to me (because their sound is so overdone now). However, they are clearly playing better as a band now. The music sounds a bit more intense and blends well. I think it is more the fact i just don't find this style of music as interesting anymore.
Luneth - 09.02.2011 at 03:05  
Written by RavenKing on 08.02.2011 at 03:45

Written by IronAngel on 08.02.2011 at 01:31

Hmm, I need to give this a chance. I listened to it a little bit, but I felt it had the problem that already annoyed me with Battlelore. Namely, that they're jack-of-all-trades who try to be epic, dark, catchy, aggressive, atmospheric and folky at the same time and fail at all of them because of it. It's not that they're bad, they just seem so underwhelming and lackluster.


I think this band is lackluster in all departments and I'm still convinced almost no one would give a shit at their boring and crappy music if it wasn't for the Tolkien themes. Their music is simply directionless and does not flow at all.
All image, no substance. One of the most boring band ever.
And ridiculously overrated.


I don't think they've done so thus far, but that Epic Atmospheric sound they've got could really work for them.
Malevolent-Jim - 09.02.2011 at 19:21  
I actually enjoyed it a fair bit more than I expected to. It's better than The Last Alliance in my opinion at least.
Susan - 10.02.2011 at 04:51  
Wow, this album is excellent so far (I'm only part way through but had to comment!).

You're so right: this isn't just another Battlelore album. It's definitely them, but they've ironed out so many kinks and brought forward everything about their music that is great, while leaving out much of what may have made them tedious before. There is certainly a new energy there, and I love your metaphor about the tired leader in the beginning of the review. Dead on.

I'm a fan, I'll admit, but I have been getting a bit weary of their same-y attitude. Doombound pulls them out of that and launches them back into the sun
Justicelust - 10.02.2011 at 10:21  
Battlelore always somehow has been boring to me but I admit this album is better than the previous ones.
AngelofDeth - 11.02.2011 at 03:47  
The tolkien themes are awesome but other than that this band really is nothing special at all.

Frankly, these people are not very good musicians and dont have the skill to play epic folk metal.

im not trying to be a dick or start shit its jus the truth imo, their songs are terribly basic and this album is no different. Seriously, listen to a Battlelore song and then listen to an Ensiferum song rite after...you wont go back to Battlelore.

I jus would rather not listen to their music when i can listen to more talented musicians that play the same style but better.
Luneth - 27.02.2011 at 18:03  
Written by AngelofDeth on 11.02.2011 at 03:47

The tolkien themes are awesome but other than that this band really is nothing special at all.

Frankly, these people are not very good musicians and dont have the skill to play epic folk metal.

im not trying to be a dick or start shit its jus the truth imo, their songs are terribly basic and this album is no different. Seriously, listen to a Battlelore song and then listen to an Ensiferum song rite after...you wont go back to Battlelore.

I jus would rather not listen to their music when i can listen to more talented musicians that play the same style but better.


Bear in mind that Battlelore, despite all their stylistic blends [of which there are many] are a Power Metal band, comparing them to Ensiferum is futile.

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