Elvenking – “Secrets Of The Magick Grimoire” (AFM Records)
I love Elvenking and 20 years on, this band still rocks me cos these guys sure know how to write a song! Playing a crucial blend of power and folk metal, the essence of Elvenking is their incredibly catchy material which naturally includes plenty of heart felt emotion and epic passion. “Secrets Of The Magick Grimoire” is the band’s 9th album and sticks to this winning formula but equally offers a couple of tracks like ‘A Grain Of Truth’ that come across as a bit more pop like along with employing a dual soulful female singer, while on the opener ‘Invoking The Woodland Spirit’ the band almost seem to be heading into the cinematic metal pioneered by Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody. Equally, Elvenking show they’ve got a symphonic aspect on ‘The Wolves Will Be Howling Your Name’ with plenty of bombastic choirs and some truly stupendous guitar work from founder Aydan who effortlessly flows between neo classical majesty to heavy metal bliss in his solos – magnifico!!! If the superior musicianship of the band, which includes Lethien on the violins, wasn’t enough then Snowy Shaw (Dream Evil, King Diamond, Memento Mori) also adds his vocals on ‘At The Court Of The Wild Hunt’ while Angus Norder (Witchery, Nekrokraft) took care of the growls and screams across the album, complementing Damna’s already splendid clean soulful highs. All this said, this isn’t an experimental album and for diehard Elvenking fans the likes of ‘The Horned Ghost And The Sorcerer’ with its luring folky dance melodies and the singalong dramatic passion of ‘The Voynich Manuscript’ will undoubtedly satiate the lust for the band’s classic sound. This truly is an awesome album and while I might be cynical of a new band employing such a breadth of styles, in the veteran hands of these Italian maestros the 12 songs on “Secrets Of The Magick Grimoire” are something truly magikal!