ELVENKING
Folk Metal / Power Metal / Non-Metal • Italy

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Elvenking is a folk metal band formed in Sacile, Italy in October 1997 by guitarists Aydan and Jarpen. In March 1998 singer Damnagoras joins the band and only in the following September the group finds a definite stability with the arrival of Zender on the drums.

Right from the beginning, Elvenking set themselves the objective of finding a formula which can combine power metal, folk music and extreme sounds in a unique mixture. The one and only demo To Oak Woods Bestowed that was recorded in 2000 led the band to sign directly a contract with German leading label AFM-Records.

Meanwhile Elvenking enriches their sound with the entry of new bass player Gorlan. He first appeared in the band as a session player, but soon he joined Elvenking permanently as a member at all effects.

The first official album Heathenreel was released on July 23rd 2001 and received flattering reviews
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Secrets of the Magick GrimoireSecrets of the Magick Grimoire
Import
Afm Records 2017
Audio CD$12.99
The Pagan ManifestoThe Pagan Manifesto
Import · Limited Edition
Afm Records 2017
Vinyl$23.10
$24.42 (used)
HeathenreelHeathenreel
Import
Afm Records Germany 2006
Audio CD$10.88
$7.51 (used)
The Night Of Nights - LiveThe Night Of Nights - Live
AFM Records 2016
Audio CD$15.80
$17.42 (used)
The Winter WakeThe Winter Wake
Extra tracks · Import
AFM 2006
Audio CD$11.67
$8.00 (used)
The ScytheThe Scythe
Import
AFM 2012
Audio CD$12.13
$12.94 (used)
EraEra
Import
Afm Records 2012
Audio CD$12.87
$7.27 (used)
WyrdWyrd
Extra tracks · Import · Limited Edition
Afm Records Germany 2004
Audio CD$11.74
$8.94 (used)
Red Silent TidesRed Silent Tides
Import
AFM Records 2011
Audio CD$6.58
$3.21 (used)
Two Tragedy PoetsTwo Tragedy Poets
Import
Afm Records 2009
Audio CD$11.46
$11.93 (used)
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ELVENKING Discography

ELVENKING albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 4.39 | 14 ratings
Heathenreel
Folk Metal 2001
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 13 ratings
Wyrd
Folk Metal 2004
.. Album Cover 3.87 | 11 ratings
The Winter Wake
Folk Metal 2006
.. Album Cover 3.48 | 11 ratings
The Scythe
Power Metal 2007
.. Album Cover 3.98 | 13 ratings
Two Tragedy Poets (...and a Caravan of Weird Figures)
Non-Metal 2008
.. Album Cover 3.62 | 11 ratings
Red Silent Tides
Power Metal 2010
.. Album Cover 4.42 | 8 ratings
Era
Folk Metal 2012
.. Album Cover 4.67 | 8 ratings
The Pagan Manifesto
Folk Metal 2014
.. Album Cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
Secrets of the Magick Grimoire
Folk Metal 2017

ELVENKING EPs & splits

ELVENKING live albums

ELVENKING demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

.. Album Cover 3.58 | 4 ratings
To Oak Woods Bestowed
Folk Metal 2000

ELVENKING re-issues & compilations

ELVENKING singles (2)

.. Album Cover
4.75 | 2 ratings
From Blood to Stone
Non-Metal 2008
.. Album Cover
5.00 | 1 ratings
Elvenlegions
Folk Metal 2014

ELVENKING movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

ELVENKING Reviews

ELVENKING Secrets of the Magick Grimoire

Album · 2017 · Folk Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
DippoMagoo
Being a huge power metal fan, and someone who likes it equally when in its purest form and when mixed with other genres, one of my absolute favorite genre combinations is power/folk metal, a style which has sadly not been done a lot in recent years, but the best band in the style continues to go strong. Of course, I’m talking about Italian band Elvenking, who stormed onto the scene with their incredible debut Heathenreel in 2001, and they haven’t let up ever since. The band has managed to come up with a very diverse sound while sticking with their two main genres, and they’ve certainly surprised folks throughout their career, sometimes going for a more aggressive, almost metalcore sound, sometimes completely toning down the power metal in favor of pure folk, and sometimes striking a near perfect balance between the two. Their previous release, The Pagan Manifesto felt like their best and most perfectly balanced release to date, serving as a perfect summary of everything the band is capable of, so I had high expectations for their next release. Three and a half years later, they’re back with their ninth full-length album Secrets of the Magick Grimoire, and if its predecessor felt like a mission statement, this release feels like the band continuing to execute that mission to near perfection.

Compared to past releases, Secret of the Magick Grimoire doesn’t feel like a big departure from previous albums. Many times in their career, just when it seemed like their fans had them figured out, Elvenking would manage to surprise them, with no release sounding very similar to the previous release. However, after The Pagan Manifesto managed to be such a perfect blend of everything the band had done before, it really felt like they didn’t have much room to develop their sound further, and so it’s no surprise this album feels like a direct continuation. What this means is, anyone who loved the previous album is almost certainly going to love this album as well, as the band has once again struck the perfect balance between speedy power metal, epic folk melodies, huge choruses, heavy riffs, occasional sections with harsh vocals and huge symphonic arrangements at times. Basically, everything the band has done on previous albums is here in full force and executed just as brilliant as always. I thought the songwriting on The Pagan Manifesto was both extremely varied yet consistently perfect, and aside from a couple tracks in the middle that don’t quite seem up to par with the rest, Secrets of the Magic Grimoire follows suit. There’s a nice mix of more straight-forward power metal, more relaxing tracks that put extra emphasis on the folk elements, tracks that strike a perfect blend between the two, alternating between heavy, fast-paced sections and calmer, more folk-infused sections, and even a couple full symphonic power metal epics where the band dials everything up to 11. As with the previous album, the band has struck a nice balance between having a polished sound, and some excellent musicianship, including some excellent solos, while also having a raw energy to the music, with very high energy performances all around.

Another area where the band has always excelled is the vocals, and of course, Damna is as great here as he’s ever been. As always, he has a unique delivery that sounds a bit rawer and a bit more wild compared to a typical power metal vocalist, and he brings a certain kind of passion and intensity to the songs that fit the music perfectly. He uses some surprisingly deep and creepy sounding vocals on this album at times, as well as the occasional softer vocals, as usual. There’s also the occasional use of harsh vocals. These are very good and are used quite a few times, though they’re often kept in the background, adding extra flavor to the songs without getting in the way of Damna’s always stellar lead vocals.

In the songwriting department, while I wouldn’t quite put this album on the same level as its predecessor, it’s still a consistently satisfying release, with several songs that do reach the masterpiece status of the band’s career high point, while even the couple exceptions are still excellent tracks in their own right, which simply don’t quite blow me away as much as the others. The album gets off to an amazing start with “Invoking the Woodland Spirit”, a track which only clocks in at a little over 6 minutes, but it definitely feels like an epic, as orchestral elements are in full effect, and it’s a very fast-paced, super epic symphonic power metal track with slight folk leanings. It’s definitely on par with some of the band’s absolute best work to date, with the verses being fast-paced and very engaging, while the chorus is absolutely phenomenal, and the guitar solo in the second half is very melodic and very impressive as well. Overall, it’s the kind of track where it feels like the band went all out and delivered one of their absolute best songs to date. Following that incredible opener is the lead single “Draugen’s Maelstrom”, another fairly speedy track, which has an excellent lead guitar melody and again has fun, energetic verses to go along with an insanely catchy chorus, where some death growls are used nicely in support of Damna’s lead vocals, and it makes for a pretty cool effect. The instrumental section gets really speedy and intense and is a definite high point of the album. Overall, another instant winner, and of the band’s best singles, for sure.

Following such an impressive opening, the remainder of the album mostly follows suit, with other early highlights including “The One We Shall Follow”, a slower track with some excellent melodies, more symphonic elements, epic choir vocals and another fantastic chorus, as well as the second single “The Horned Ghost and the Sorcerer”, a mid-paced, folk-infused track which again has some incredible melodies, fun verses and perhaps the catchiest chorus on the album. It definitely brings to mind “Pagan Revolution” from the previous album and is almost as fun and catchy as that song, with the folk melodies perhaps being even better than on that track, and it’s definitely another excellent choice for a single. It has an excellent softer section in the middle where the band uses some tribal drums as well as some epic acoustic folk instrumentation for a bit, and it’s definitely one of the highlights of the album. After those two, we have “A Grain of Truth” a track which has some slower paced, heavier verses, mixes with a speedy chorus where the harsh vocals lead the way. I think the excellent, melodic pre-chorus section is my favorite part of this track, though the chorus is nice as well, and overall it’s one of those tracks that doesn’t quite impress me as much as some of the best on the album, but it’s still very good overall. Rounding out the first half is “The Wolves Will Be Howling Your Name”, a track which blends power and folk metal elements seamlessly and is a fantastic track. It starts off with some epic folk elements and has a nice use of violins throughout. The verses alternate between slow and speedy passages, while the chorus is slow and calm, with some of Damna’s best vocals on the album. The track has some amazing folk melodies throughout and is definitely another highlight.

The second half begins with two very good, but not quite outstanding tracks in “3 Ways to Magick” and “Straight Inside Your Winter”. The former again has a nice blend of power and folk elements and the chorus is amazing, but it feels like it loses focus at times, trying to fit a bit too much into it’s 4 and a half minute runtime, so it ends up not being as memorable as some of the other tracks on the album, while the latter is the slowest full-length song on the album and it has some nice folk melodies and a nice chorus, but it simply doesn’t quite reach the heights many of the other songs reach.

The remainder of the second half, though is perfect and very much represents some of the best music found on the album. First up is “The Voynich Manuscript”, a near 6 and a half minute track, which has a perfect blend between speedy power metal passages and calm folk passages, as well as one of the best choruses on the album, some of the most energetic and exciting verses, and a ton of memorable moments. The music gets darker and more epic in the second half, and from there the song just gets insanely good, with the ending sequence having some of the best harsh vocals on the entire album. Next is “Summon the Dawnlight”, the shortest and most relaxed of the final three full songs, though it’s still fairly fast paced and has some excellent lead guitar melodies and some verses which, while not overly speedy, move along at a nice enough pace and are very fun, while the chorus is simply fantastic as always, and the instrumental section is perhaps the best on the album. The last full song is “At the Courst of the Wild Hunt”, which starts off with a very folk-infused section, featuring some dark and kinda creepy vocals, performed by guest Snowy Shaw, before the track speeds up and turns into another very epic, symphonic power metal track, with another excellent chorus, extremely energetic verses, an amazing middle section where the folk elements appear again, and some nice surprises in the second half. It definitely feels like the band packed a lot into this track, but everything works perfectly and it’s up there with “Invoking the Woodland Spirit” as one of my two favorite songs on the album. Lastly, we have “A Cloak of Dusk”, an acoustic outro which features some nice violin melodies, as well as some of the softest vocals ever performed by Damna. It’s a nice little track which ends the album effectively.

Overall, Secrets of the Magic Grimoire is another outstanding album from Elvenking, which builds off the momentum they gained from their career high point The Pagan Manifesto, and at times even reaches the same level of perfection. I wouldn’t quite put it on the same level as that release on the whole, but it has its moments for sure, and overall it’s another fantastic blend of power and folk metal, with occasional symphonic elements and harsh vocals, as usual. Fans of past Elvenking albums are sure to enjoy this one, especially those who loved the previous release, while anyone looking for a nice blend of power, folk and symphonic metal is highly recommended to give this album a try.

originally written for myglobalmind.com: https://myglobalmind.com/2017/11/01/elvenking-secrets-magic-grimoire-review/

ELVENKING The Pagan Manifesto

Album · 2014 · Folk Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Primeval Scum
Elvenking blasts back into the forefront of the power and folk metal scenes with The Pagan Manifesto, a triumphant return to form for the Italian veterans. Their debut Heathenreel is a magnificent album with a special place in my heart, but none of their subsequent albums capture the same magic. Sure, they are all competent and have a few good songs each, but none of them left me with the jubilant, fulfilled feeling that Heathenreel always delivered.

The Pagan Manifesto has changed that. It's not going to dethrone Heathenreel, but it's their first album that truly lives up to the legacy of the debut. The band sounds fresher and more exciting than they have in a long, long time. There is not a single weak track to be found here, as each one is overflowing with that vibrant pagan spirit we all love and is filled with countless infectious melodies (including a cameo of the guitar melody from Heathenreel's "White Willow" on track 2). Indeed, after only two full listens, I can already recite the chorus to almost every track at the top of my lungs.

The Pagan Manifesto not for everyone - the cheese factor is quite high and it's a fun-oriented album that doesn't take itself too seriously. But if you have ever enjoyed anything by Elvenking, do yourself a favor and get this album. From the epicness "King of the Elves" and "Witches Gather" to the unbridled energy of "Elvenlegions" and "Pagan Revolution" to the heartfelt emotion of "Towards the Shores" and "Twilight of Magic", this is as consistent and memorable of a folk/power metal album I've heard in a while. I will rate it at 4.0 for now, though it may rise to 4.5 with further listens.

ELVENKING The Pagan Manifesto

Album · 2014 · Folk Metal
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adg211288
The Pagan Manifesto (2014) is the eighth full-length album by Italian folk/power metal act Elvenking. It's the first album for some time that has feature the same line-up as the previous one, Era (2012) and features some guest vocals by Amanda Somerville (Trillium, Aina et al) and growls by former Elvenking member Jarpen.

I count Elvenking among my favourite bands, but despite that I've always felt that they were an act whose career has had its ups and downs, starting with a couple of really strong folk-power metal albums, namely Heathenreel (2001) and Wyrd (2004), the former of which has remained a special release to me to this day, being the first folk metal album I ever owned. I've also always considered it to be their best work despite their music becoming more professional sounding in the years that have followed. In fact I think that with each of the next three Elvenking albums the band put out releases of a declining quality. Wyrd to my ears was excellent, but as the only album in the band's catalogue without usual frontman Damna it can certainly be considered the odd one out. He came back for The Winter Wake (2006), but although that album was catchy and had many great songs, it never moved me the same way as Heathenreel did. The band then hit their all time low with The Scythe (2007), an album that it has taken me many years to find an appreciation for, although I do enjoy it much more now than I used to. The Scythe was the album where Elvenking toned down their folk elements a bit, bringing their music closer to pure power metal.

It was this point in their career that Elvenking did a shocker, ditching metal and producing the mostly acoustic folk album Two Tragedy Poets (...and a Caravan of Weird Figures) (2008). The fact that they made such an album wasn't the shocking thing in itself, although the timing was surprising considering the sound of The Scythe, but the energy the album had was. It was the closest thing the band had come to replicating the magic of Heathenreel and considering at the time I really did not enjoy The Scythe I actually wanted Elvenking to keep playing the style heard on Two Tragedy Poets, which quickly asserted itself as my second favourite by the group. That was not to be, as they returned to playing power metal on Red Silent Tides (2010), and again lessened their folk elements compared to their first three albums. Red Silent Tides did however break some new ground for Elvenking, as it had both traditional metal and hard rock leanings. It was also a solid album in my mind, but quite the major step down again after Two Tragedy Poets.

It was Era, their most recent album prior to the release of The Pagan Manifesto, that became their first release since The Winter Wake that could be called a folk metal album, but the power metal elements felt more restrained on it, making it a very different sounding release to the early work, although I ended up considering it their third best album after Heathenreel and Two Tragedy Poets. A trend had emerged by this point; Elvenking's unfortunate habit of alternating between a lesser album and an excellent one. With The Pagan Manifesto it is again the turn of the lesser album.

Only this is not only the album where Elvenking have bucked that trend, but also the first time that they've matched that special energy that Heathenreel had in a metal context. The power metal elements are again focussed and are actually quite aggressive at times. In fact this album is the most focussed power metal sounding album they've released since The Scythe. Unlike The Scythe and Red Silent Tides they haven't lessened their folk elements though. The sound is direct and powerful. Calling it a back to the roots release wouldn't be wrong. There are differences, there are less growls used on The Pagan Manifesto than on the early albums, although because they are performed by Jarpen it certainly adds to the Heathenreel/Wyrd throwbacks. There are also traces of more recent Elvenking, as the symphonic elements that were also heard on Era make a return, especially in the final song Witches Gather which is like a perfect cross between Heathenreel and Era style Elvenking.

Era was the best metal album that Elvenking had released since their debut at the time, but The Pagan Manifesto easily usurps it. The real difference that sets this album above that one is how much more commanding it sounds. As a fan of the band since the time that The Winter Wake was their current album, my jaw is literally on the floor at how strong The Pagan Manifesto is. Heathenreel will always be a special album to me on a personal level, but sitting back and being objective it's pretty clear to me that Elvenking as an act have come a long way since 2001, maturing as songwriters and producing their most accomplished work to date in The Pagan Manifesto. It's taken them a long time and many line-up changes to do this (Damna and guitarist Aydan are the only original members at this point), but it's most certainly proved worth the wait.

An early highlight of The Pagan Manifesto is the most surprising track on the album, King of the Elves, which is the longest Elvenking track to date at almost thirteen minutes. Most artists tend to stick epic length tracks like this at the very end of an album, as Elvenking themselves did with their previous record holder from Wyrd, A Poem for the Firmament, but this time Elvenking have made the unusual choice to put it second, after a short intro, The Manifesto. It may just be the best song the band has ever done, featuring great folk melodies (including a throwback to White Willow, a song from Heathenreel), those quite aggressive power metal riffs, guest female vocals by Somerville, a symphonic section and more. It's a real statement about the direction of the album and nothing else is really needed to hook the listener in and placing it second is surprisingly effective.

After the epic is over The Pagan Manifesto is an album that keeps on delivering the goods with catchy power metal dominate tracks like the directly following lead single Elvenlegions, less power metal based stuff like Pagan Revolution and a fully folk song in the form of Towards the Shores. As a long-time follower of the band I can say with a certainly that the album embodies all the best sounds of the band's career and also that we're dealing with top quality Elvenking work here. There's absolutely no reason for a 5 star rating is not deserved for this one.

98/100

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven: http://metaltube.freeforums.org/elvenking-the-pagan-manifesto-t3515.html)

ELVENKING The Scythe

Album · 2007 · Power Metal
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The Scythe (2007) is the fourth full-length album from Italian Folk/Power Metal act Elvenking. It is the band’s first concept album and is darker in tone than any of their previous efforts, being themed around death. Writing this review so long after the album's original release I’m fortunate enough to benefit from a bit of hindsight in regard to the album; I know for example that this is the most controversial album in the Elvenking catalogue - it received positive reviews from the metal press upon its release and became the band’s most successful album, but it received a largely negative backlash from the band’s fans. A backlash which included yours truly. You see, what you're reading here is in fact a heavily altered review for The Scythe. The reason for needing to edit this review in 2014 (the band have just released their eighth album The Pagan Manifesto (2014)) is simple: I changed my mind.

Back in the time when The Scythe was their current album, which wasn't long after I first discovered Elvenking through their debut Heathenreel (2001), I have something of a love/hate relationship with it, which gradually descended more and more towards hate and when I took it upon myself to review all of the Elvenking discography, I ended up giving The Scythe an admittedly harsh 1 star range rating. It's 2014 now though, and seven years is a long time. Tastes and people change. With The Pagan Manifesto recently out and frankly kicking my arse in a way the band has never done since Heathenreel I decided to revisit the whole back catalogue again, including The Scythe. I had done almost the same when Era (2012) was released, but skipped this one over. Maybe if I hadn't this story review would have been told a couple of years earlier. But the point is time has done a number on my opinion of The Scythe, and I find that I now quite enjoy the album.

But first, a theory as to why this album got such a backlash in 2007; on this album Elvenking, who despite also being a power metal have always been more known as a folk metal act, decided to withdraw their use of folk elements a little, and although they are still present quite often, I don't quite feel comfortable calling The Scythe a folk metal album. It's a power metal album with strong folk influences. But there are also some more modern sounding touches, such as the inclusion of random grunts and screams which is still a feature I don't like about The Scythe. Elvenking had many more growls on Heathenreel in particular, and a few on Wyrd (2004) too, but there were utilised much more tastefully on both those albums and feel necessary by this point, as band frontman Damna has evolved into a much more capable vocalist than he was in the early days. I've always enjoyed his performance on Heathenreel, but he did come over as an aquired taste in those days and I know that many others have always criticized his vocals and were happy when he did not appear on Wyrd. Some songs on the album even feel quite commercially orientated even by power metal standards, and that's always a problem with a certain type of metal fan.

One aspect of The Scythe that I have always been positive about is its use of narration, which is done quite poetically. I usually dislike so much narration in music, but Elvenking really made it work here. With the album having finally opened up to me the music is also pretty strong too, with tracks like Lost Hill of Memories and A Riddle of Stars being two of the most praiseworthy to my ears. It some ways the music actually feels superior to its direct predecessor The Winter Wake (2006), as parts of that album have always sounded a bit rough around the edges to my ears, but well, I really do not enjoy those random grunts I mentioned.

It remains true in my mind that since Heathenreel Elvenking were an act on diminishing returns and that The Scythe is their weakest release to date, as of 2014, but it's actually far from a bad album, in hindsight, and I regret previously writing it off with such venom and suggesting that people use it as a spare beer mat (really, I said that). What is the moral of this story? I don't know. It could be never write an album off too fast, or never ever write negative reviews and listen to that release again years later or something else entirely. Point is, it seems to me that a 4 star range rating is much more appropriate than the 1 star that I originally gave The Scythe, so this new review is me rectifying a past mistake.

75/100

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven: http://metaltube.freeforums.org/elvenking-the-scythe-t1929.html)

ELVENKING Heathenreel

Album · 2001 · Folk Metal
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Primeval Scum
The Regality Dance, White Willow, and Seasonspeech are without a doubt among the best folk metal songs I've ever heard. Pagan Purity, Skywards, and Oakenshield are all great tracks in their own right.

Those six tracks are fantastic, but the rest of the album is mostly filler, which brings down the overall rating a bit.

When I first heard Elvenking's vocalist, I wasn't sure if I liked his voice. At first, he almost sounded like a pop-punk singer. However, you quickly get used to it and come to love it. I now cannot imagine the band any other way and consider his voice one that truly captures the pagan spirit because when he sings you can truly tell how much passion and love he has for each word and note in the music. His voice, and the rest of the band's performances, sound so carefree and joyous, as if they're playing in a vast green meadow.

Several amazing songs, with a pointless intro and a couple filler tracks. If all of the songs were as good as the first three I mentioned it would be one of the easiest 5-stars I've ever given, but overall it comes out to roughly a 3.9/5.

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