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Elvenking – Reader of the Runes – Divination

7/10

So time passes by and it’s now amazingly eighteen yeas since Elvenking released their debut album back in 2001. If you had asked me then if they would still be around in 2019, I would probably just have been shaking my head laughing.
Not that the debut wasn’t any good, in fact, ”Heathenreel” is a magnificent piece of Folk Metal but the dark clouds seemed to gather fast around Elvenking as they split with singer and main motor,Damnagoras, shortly after the release of the debut, resulting in three long years before being able to release the follow up, ”Wyrd” and although Damnagoras was back for their third album ”The Winter Wake” things certainty wasn’t the same anymore.

Gone where the magic from the debut and although not bad, Elvenking seemed to be a mere shadow of their past. By the time for the awful ”The Scythe” I totally lost interest in the band but actually was a bit surprised when I for some unknown reason checked their 2010 release ”Red Silent Tides”up, an album that offered some very pop orientated, but really good material.

Since then they released two more albums that, although going back to a more metal sound still delivered some pretty good material and now it’s time for their 10th album anniversary with ”Reader of the Runes – Divination”!

Their new album follows the same formula as their latest two efforts, namely, even leaning strongly on folk melodies, performed mainly by guitar and some sort of violin, being more ”Power Metal” than ”Folk Metal”. The songs are pretty varied, with both the folky stuff, some calm parts, some fast parts and some even faster parts resulting in that, even the album being a bit on the lengthy side, it never gets dull.

Elvenking has always relied on Damnagoras well written and beautiful harmonies and melodies, performed with his special voice that I guess is a bit of a ”love or hate”-kind and aside from the albums only actual ”not so good”-part, the verses in ”Silverseal” that sound like some boring Hammerfall-stuff, they still does it on the new album, presenting some real catchy choruses and harmonies!

In my opinion ”Reader of the Runes – Divination” could have saved in a bit on the bombastic moments and maybe ditched one or two songs in favour for a shorter, more direct album but all in all I’m pretty pleased with the new album.
As said before Elvenking of today is far more leaned to Power Metal and long gone is the charming desperation in Damnagoras voice and the sometimes unorthodox melody choices of the debut but even if I’m not a big fan of Power Metal, Elvenking still manages to deliver that special pagan feeling that makes me like them and if you’re into a bit more diverse take on the Power Metal-formula, not minding a violin here and there, ”Reader of the Runes” is a safe companion to help you pay homage to your pagan roots, preparing you for Mabon, The Autumn Equinox!

Artist: Elvenking
Title: Reader of the Runes – Divination
Label: AFM Records
Date of release: 30/8-19
Playing time: 52:25
Rate: 7/10
Stand out track: Heathen Divine

Mattias Eronn

Mattias Eronn

Writer

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