Review

ELVENKING The Pagan Manifesto

Album · 2014 · Folk Metal
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4/5 ·
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.
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