Soundchecks Music Reviews

The Winter Wake

Candlelight USA


review by Octavio Ramos Jr

Fusing the folk metal of acts such as Skyclad and Korpiklaani (most evident on tracks like The Wanderer and March Of Fools) with the power metal of Demons And Wizards and Kamelot, Elvenking occupies a singular niche that is only bolstered with The Winter's Wake. Skirting trollish grunts and lung-bursting croons, vocalist Damnagoras delivers a more mainstream approach, using his voice like a battering ram. Guitarist Aydan immerses himself in the world of power metal, his six-string axe churning out a barrage of straightforward riffs and finger-twisting solos. Folk elements step to the forefront with the help of Elyghen, who handles both keyboards and an omnipresent violin. Drummer Zender favors upfront fills and rolls, and bassist Gorlan is sometimes lost in the final mix.

Guest musicians include Schmier (Destruction), Nino Laurenne (Thunderstone), Pauline Tacey, and Whisperwind (who plays keys on Leprechaun). Lyrically, the band immerses itself in nature, with tracks like Swallowtail, On The Morning Dew, and Rouse Your Dream clashing with the harder-edged Devil's Carriage and Rats Are Following. Fans of folk metal looking for the crunching guitar riffs and more melodic vocals of power metal would do well to pick this one up.

This enhanced CD comes with a bonus cover track, Penny Dreadful (from Skyclad's 1996 effort titled Irrational Anthems), and a studio 'making-of'documentary.

Edited by Tony Lee
for PIGASUS Press