Italian power metal/folk metal band Elvenking have released their 9th studio album. That album is called Secrets of the Magick Grimoire and it was released on the 10th of November via AFM Records.
Elvenking formed in 1997 though struggled with getting a settled line up in their early years. Their debut full length came out in 2001 and was called Heathenreel. It was really well received internationally and saw the band quickly propelled into the limelight and out on tour with giants like Blind Guardian, Gamma Ray and Edguy. Over the years continuous line up changes hampered the band a bit though they have garnered a large following of fans over the years.
Elvenking today are Damnagoras on vocals and founding member Ayden on guitars. Also on guitars is Rafahel while the bass is looked after by Jakob. Lethien looks after violin duties and Lancs is on drums. Secrets of the Magick Grimoire will be the first album to feature Lancs on drums after he replaced Symohn this year.
There are 12 tracks on Secrets of the Magick Grimoire in total and the album is around 1 hour long. There is a Limited Edition version available too that has an additional 4 bonus tracks. Secrets of the Magick Grimoire is an absolute celebration of all the greatest things in power metal and folk metal, blended nicely together. Soaring solos, rhythmic drums, empowering folk elements, loads of catchy choruses and cheesy lyrics and symphonic keyboards all melded together in layers of grandiose enjoyment.
The album opens with Invoking The Woodland Spirit. Whispered, spell like vocals come in with gentle symphonic elements before the song explodes into life with a fast paced drum rhythm and high pitched, soaring guitar lines. The vocals are high pitched and have an almost 80’s feel to them but suit the song perfectly. There is a catchy chorus and, as the track nears an end it moves into a strong folk section with strings and violins and chant like singing with loads of backing.
Draugen’s Maelstrom is another catchy song and has a really strong, chugging riff that is punctuated by guitar squeals. Damnagoras hits some seriously high notes and it is nice to hear some growled vocals in the mix too. The One We Shall Follow is heavily on the folk metal side with an excellent, catchy guitar intro and a fist thumping rhythm. The vocals are great and the chorus brings in loads of backing again. It is a very catchy song. The Horned Ghost and the Sorcerer has a great violin intro over a fast tapped drum beat. It is a slower song than what has come before and definitely focuses on the violin with multiple solos throughout the track. Lethien is obviously a master of the instrument.
Grain of Truth features another insanely infectious guitar hook and immense drumming. There is another crunching riff and strong bass line over the high, soaring vocals. The chorus is a mix of growled vocals followed by cleans and sounds great. The Wolves Will Be Howling Your Name has a folk start with gentle guitars and a violin before a guitar twang brings in a dark and heavy riff over choir like singing. It is another great example of blended folk and power metal. It does have a dark undertone to it as well which creates an exciting atmosphere.
3 Ways to Magick has loads of violin and fast drumming. It also switches up the vocals a bit having a mix of growled vocals, choir like backing and softer, melodic singing. It is a very pretty sounding, emotional song. Straight Inside Your Winter has an interesting keyboard line at the beginning before turning into a strong riff and drum pace. Soft, melodic verse are met by passionate choruses that comes close to being ballad like. The Voynich Manuscript comes next and is the closest to a straight up power metal track on the album. It is also the only song I am not overly keen on, purely because it offers nothing new to what has come before. Not because it is a bad song. It isn’t.
Summon the Dawn Light and At the Court of the Wild Hunt are up next. The first instantly grabs you with the guitar hook. The drums are fantastic, as is the huge solo near the end that is part power metal and part final boss of a video game. Wild Hunt adds some more freshness by having guest vocals from Snowy Shaw (Dream Evil, Dimmu Borgir, King Diamond, Therion.) At nearly 8 minutes long it is a grand and powerful epic. A soaring guitar leads us off. Strong vocals lead into catchy choruses and big instrumentals. There is plenty of time for a folk instrumental before we head into a darker, chanting section with a heavy bass line. The song then builds back up in speed for a furiously fast ending.
The album closes on A Cloak of Dusk. It acts almost as a palette cleanser with it’s gentle strings and acoustic guitar intro. Soft vocals are sung passionately before the song fades out and our quest is over.
Fans of folk or power metal should rejoice at what Elvenking have released with Secrets of the Magick Grimoire. It is an amazing album with a massive sound. Loads of guitar hooks and catchy drum rhythms. A strong bass line, violin solos, symphonic keys and a vocalist who can lull you to sleep or shatter windows at will. There is very little to criticise here. Aside form one or two songs that aren’t as good as others on the album, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the album. It is a must listen for fans of the genres and is the perfect advertisement for all that is good in power and folk metal
Secrets of the Magick Grimoire is available now. It can be picked up from all the usual streaming services like Spotify and iTunes. You can also grab a copy from Elvenking’s website, as well as some merch. You can also grab a copy of Secrets of the Magick Grimoire and more from the band at the links below the article. Find out more about Elvenking at their website, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Be sure to give them a Like and a Follow while you are there.
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Secrets of the Magick Grimoire by Elvenking (AFM Records)
The Final Score - 9/10