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ELVENKING Reader of the Runes – Divination

By Daniel Höhr, European Correspondent
Tuesday, September 3, 2019 @ 7:44 AM


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ELVENKING
Reader of the Runes – Divination

AFM Records, 2019




Italian folk power metallers ELVENKING have released their tenth studio album, Reader of the Runes – Divination. Designed to be an “adventurous journey into a mystic world of runes, magic and ancient powers far away from the visible“ (says the info sheet), the album is, in fact, a concept album, or rather the first chapter of a longer story that will be continued on subsequent releases. This idea seems to be part and parcel of the power metal genre and I have learned that it is perfectly possible to enjoy (or not) a power metal album without bothering to get my head round some epic tale. And, to cut a long story short, enjoy the music I did. Massively. Epically.

“Perthro“ is an atmospheric intro setting the scene with percussion, chanting and string instruments, slowly building up and leading to the first song of the album, “Heathen Divine“. The acoustic guitar that opens the song sounds pretty much like Renaissance music but soon gives way to high octane power metal riffing, uber-melodic vocals, virtuoso shredding and basically everything you expect from a power metal album, pagan or otherwise. And thus the epic journey continues. On their way through Divination, vocalist Damna, guitarists Aydan and Rafahel, violinist Lethien, bassist Jakob and drummer Lancs show unprecedented creativity and come up with one killer track after the next setting highlight after highlight. The combination of folk elements with power metal is nothing new and has been done over and over again but ELVENKING manage to get something new out of it, something that sounds inspired and is indeed fun to listen to. The title track is just one example of how well the rhythmic and melodic variety works out. “Silverseal“ is a relentlessly melodic mid-tempo track with a beat you can actually dance to. Likewise, “The Misfortune of Virtue“ is yet another prime of example of the band‘s sonic richness. The ensuing “Eternal Eleanor“ is a shout-along song that is bound to be a killer live, while the short acoustic song “Diamonds in the Night“ sets the scene for “The Sign of a Black Star“, another melody-driven stomper that showcases vocalist Damna‘s stellar singing. The high-speed “Malefica Doctrine“, just like the subsequent mid-tempo “Sic Semper Tyrannis“, brings in a good dash of death metal riffing. The stomping “Warden of the Bone“ is a dark but playful song that bursts with ideas. The 10:44 “Reader of the Runes – Book I“ is the grand epic finale of the album. Here, ELVENKING pull any available stop to create this sonic feast and come up with and incredibly rich musical tapestry taking the meaning of the word “epic“ to an entirely new level.

ELVENKING‘s The Reader of the Runes – Divination is not only their best album so far but also one of the best albums from that genre I have heard. Incredible creativity, seasoned musicians and a never-ending well of inspired music makes one look forward to seeing the band live and to the second part of the Reader of the Runes saga.

5.0 Out Of 5.0


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