Album Review: Ainur – War of The Jewels (Rockshots Records)
For the last 18 years, progressive rock orchestra Ainur has been creating J.R.R. Tolkien inspired albums and singles. Their next anticipated record ‘War of The Jewels’ is due out March 19th, 2021 (CD+Digital) (Vinyl – June 12th) via Rockshots Records.
The band comments:
‘War of the Jewels’ is the eleventh volume of “The History of Middle-Earth”. In Tolkien’s mythology is the tale of the big wars that came out after the creation of the Silmarils by Fëanor. The main theme is the big battles of Beleriand, except for Nirnaeth Arnoediad that will have big space in our next album. The main implied character is Fëanor, the mightiest of the Elves. Musically, it’s a thematic album as all our previous and future ones and you will recognize musical themes that we already used in “From Ancient Times”, “Children of Hùrin” and “Lay of Leithian”; however, the atmospheres are more aggressive and mighty than in the past because the topics we have put in music this time needed a more powerful musical support.
The ultimate Tolkien-inspired band? There’s a very strong argument for Ainur and their progressive rock orchestral efforts. Where the grandiose elements of string and wood instruments meet keyboards, bass, drums and guitars for something electrically and eclectically portrayed.
There are few words that can arcuately describe just what is heard, just what is felt and just what is meant here. 75 minutes of unique progressive rock accompanied by imposing orchestration that makes War of the Jewels feel like a stage show. A massive stage show with incredible production and lavish effects. One that transfixes an audience and puts minds slap-bang in the world of Tolkien.
It is a spectacular listen but, it’s very proggy and that does mean if you’re not a fan of rhythms that wander all over the place, you may not find yourself as entranced as others.
There’s so much to take in. From uplifting and glorious melodies to broad-minded guitar work to striking percussion and unusual synth to lavish string and wood orchestration. No two tracks sound the same and it constantly looks to surprise. Which it does… a lot.
Expectations will constantly be met even when the band simplify (as much as it’s possible for them) their sound such as on the heavy metal wildness of Hell of Iron. Although the real highlights come in the form of the starry melodic wonder and metal richness of Wars Begin and Grinding Ice. Or the splendidness of Kinslaying (The First) where the sense of grandeur takes a bit of a backseat to something more attractive.
Although prettiness is par for the course with the album as a whole. Even more so if constantly shifting progressive guitars makes your mind spark. A whole lot more if you happen to have a ton of Tolkien interest.
While the famous author is at the forefront of course, you don’t really need to know much at all to get enjoyment from the album. It is after all, a progressive heavyweight rock orchestra and that is going to have a ton of appeal to a lot of people.
Ainur – War of the Jewels Full Track Listing:
1. Fate Disclosed (ft. Ted Nasmith)
2. Wars Of Beleriand
3. Hell of Iron
4. Wars Begin
5. Kinslaying (The First) (ft. Ted Nasmith)
6. Grinding Ice
7. Battle Under The Stars (ft. Derek Sherinian)
8. Spirit Of Fire (ft. Roberto Tiranti (Labyrinth) & Ted Nasmith)
9. The Broidress
10. The Great Battle (Or The War Of Wrath) (ft. Ted Nasmith)
12. Apocalypse (Acoustic Bonus Track – Digital Only)
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Ainur - War of The Jewels (Rockshots Records)
The Final Score - 7.5/10