Era
ELVENKING

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ELVENKING - Era cover
4.42 | 8 ratings | 1 review
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Album · 2012

Filed under Folk Metal

Tracklist

1. The Loser (4:58)
2. I Am The Monster (5:11)
3. Midnight Skies, Winter Sighs (4:33)
4. A Song For The People (1:45)
5. We, Animals (4:47)
6. Through Wolf's Eyes (3:18)
7. Walking Dead (3:44)
8. Forget-Me-Not (5:39)
9. Poor Little Baroness (5:18)
10. The Time Of Your Life (4:19)
11. Chronicle Of A Frozen Era (6:40)
12. Ophale (2:46)

Total Time: 52:58

Bonus Track:

13. Khanjar (4:26)

Line-up/Musicians

- Aydan / Guitars
- Damna / Vocals
- Rafahel / Guitars
- Lethien / Violin
- Symohn / Drums
- Jakob / Bass

with

- Jon Oliva / Vocals
- Teemu Mäntysaari / Guitars
- Maurizio / Pipes & Flutes

About this release

Label: AFM Records
Release Date: September 14, 2012

Recorded at Sonic Pump Studios in Helsinki, Finland with producer Nino Laurenne.

Thanks to Stooge for the addition and adg211288 for the updates

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ELVENKING ERA reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

adg211288
Era (2012) is the seventh full-length album release from Italian metal band Elvenking. The band’s sound has varied a bit throughout their career, starting as a folk/power metal hybrid with Heathenreel (2001) through to The Winter Wake (2006) but lessening their folk element for their fourth album The Scythe (2007), also injecting that album with a bit of metalcore, before stripping away the metal and bringing back the folk for a one off semi-acoustic album, Two Tragedy Poets (2008), and then returning to a more melodic (and commercial) power metal sound for their most recent album pre-Era, Red Silent Tides (2010). Era sees them changing again, or rather returning to their roots, albeit with a much changed line-up compared to the one than recorded Heathenreel and its prior demo, To Oak Woods Bestowed (2000).

To elaborate on that Era sees Elvenking once more performing as a hybrid of folk metal and power metal, and it is most definitely the album I’ve personally been hoping this band would make for at least five years now. I’ve always felt that from Heathenreel onwards Elvenking was on diminishing returns, starting with top tier work, still being very strong for their second album Wyrd (2004) to being simply solid for The Winter Wake, then plummeting to an all time low for The Scythe, as I disliked the lessened amount of folk, the metalcore elements and the general overuse of narration. Elvenking did however bounce back with Two Tragedy Poets, and I soon regarded the release as their second best album. They went back to simply being solid with Red Silent Tides, and I was disappointed in that album because I’d previously hoped that given they’d proved themselves to still have the folk credentials for Two Tragedy Poets that the album would be a return to Heathenreel’s style. It wasn’t. It was a decent album but it wasn’t the Elvenking I had wanted back. Era on the other hand is finally telling the story I’d wanted these guys to have. Era isn’t Heathenreel 2.0, the album has its own identity, as does any Elvenking album, but it is the closest they’ve come to the same sound.

That said ever since The Scythe, which I see as something as a stigma within their otherwise solid discography, I’ve always been apprehensive whenever Elvenking brings out a new album. You can never know just what this band is going to do next. They’re anything but predictable in that respect, which I guess is a good thing but it has led to some disappointing results in the past. This time around I wasn’t actually impressed with the material the band released during the build up to Era hitting the streets, which were namely the tracks Poor Little Baroness and The Loser. However I was not completely concerned because the build up to Red Silent Tides didn’t leave me excited either. I never seem to form a proper opinion of an Elvenking album until I have the whole thing available to listen in one hit though, and this time the results of taking the album in one hit leave me with much more satisfying results than Red Silent Tides did. That’s both in terms of genre and quality.

Having the folk element back in abundance is the main reason for that. Although the power metal side of things reminds me most of Red Silent Tides’ sound having the folk back makes all the difference. If you crossed Heathenreel and Red Silent Tides then Era is pretty much the result, combining the best parts of old and new Elvenking into an album that against all expectations forces me to regard it as not only surprising and exceptional, but also as one of the best album’s Elvenking has ever produced. The writing is consistent, the only song I don’t like as much is We, Animals. The folk melodies well done and there are plenty of moments of epic quality to be found, including some strong instrumental work. The folksy ballad parts number among the best the band has ever done as well, and certainly don’t feel out of place within the album. I hope Elvenking stays with this sound now, because this is what they’re really good at, and Era is a showcase that Elvenking are back, and they mean business!

If there is a weak element, it’s that vocalist Damna has never had the most likeable of voices to carry the music, although his vocals have much improved over the last few albums, and Era is easily his best performance yet. What I like most about him though is that unlike many other folk metal acts, Damna sings cleanly. The growling vocals of Elvenking’s music has been greatly reduced ever since secondary vocalist Jarpen left the band after Wyrd (the only album not to feature Damna) and although a few are used on Era, they are few are far between and often seem to be there for effect, rather than drive the music. Jon Oliva of Savatage also turns up on the album was a guest vocal slot, and like some of Elvenking’s older songs some female vocals are also used, another reminder of the Heathenreel/Wyrd sound.

Era may just be the biggest album surprise for 2012 and it pleases me no end to say that. This is very easily Elvenking’s third best album. I wouldn’t place it above Heathenreel or even the non-metal Two Tragedy Poets but it does usurp Wyrd for third place. And with only the one little dip in quality as mentioned a high end exceptional tier rating is easily deserved.

9.4/10

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven (http://metaltube.freeforums.org) on 14/09/2012)

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