The sometimes loved/sometimes hated Italian Power/Folk Metallers Elvenking are back with their latest album Era. My experience with the band is limited to their performance at ProgPowerUSA several years ago, a performance with which I was not entirely impressed, nor did it make me run out to get all of their material. In fact, I didn’t get any of it. They reportedly embody things in Metal I like, such as Power Metal and Folk Metal. Plus they aren’t a ‘cinematic’ Italian band, giving me some hope.
Era really comes across to me as a Hard Rock album with some touches of Power and Folk Metal, but not necessarily as either one of those in entirety, and at times becoming more of a Metal album. I guess a mix of styles can be used to keep things interesting, but it just doesn’t come off as a complete sound to me at all times. What I really get from the songs here is that Elvenking can write a pretty catchy Hard Rock melody, occasionally throw in a violin for the Folky feel and incorporate some Power Metal sensibilities at times to make it heavy.
The first couple of songs are well-written and executed Hard Rock tunes, again with a bit of the other elements added in, seemingly after the rest of the song was done. Midnight Skies, Winter Sighs has an infectious Power Metal type of chorus that I expect to hear from Avantasia. It’s definitely well done, but seems somewhat out of place with the rest of the song. We, Animals also hits with a tremendous, melodic chorus. The violin is incorporated a bit better in this song as well. Through Wolf’s Eyes sounds much more like a Folk Metal tune, particularly in the melody the band wrote, both in the verses and the chorus.
Walking Dead goes back to the Hard Rock chorus, but more of a faster paced metal song in the verse. There is violin in the background, but just seems extraneous to the song. The remainder of the album is somewhat forgettable, save for the song Chronicle of a Frozen Era, though that isn’t even a through and through killer track. Once again, it is the chorus that the band seem to put the most effort into writing, being melodic and catchy. Some heavier and even progressive parts in the middle keep it interesting, along with a nice guitar solo.
Here is Poor Little Baroness:
I can’t say I am disappointed or let down in any way by Elvenking, as they hadn’t truly impressed me much in the past, nor would I consider myself a fan. I was hoping to like the album, but I don’t think it will jump to the top of my must play list. Ultimately I don’t love or hate the album, but feel ambivalent about Era. That may be the worst thing a band can hear.
I hear the sound in a METAL way.