By Sam Linton
First of all, to be honest, this review actually started not as a review at all, but as a failed attempt to purchase a different album, based on the recommendations of another review. Yes, I was reading Exclaim! the other day (no doubt a familiar publication to all of our Canadian readers), and they had published a rather glowing review of the latest Battlelore album, Evernight. Anyways, this review appealed to me, and I resolved to purchase a copy of Evernight for my own, despite never having heard any of Battlelore’s music before. Long story short, I couldn’t find a copy at [Well Known Bathurst & Bloor Area New and Used Music Store], but I DID find a copy of their last album, Third Age of the Sun, and with some hesitation based on the sticker price ($20.99 + tax!) I bought it. Well, it turned out to be a good call on my part, because this album fuckin’ rocks!
Actually, I may want to qualify that this album fuckin’ rocks if you like power metal. Those of you who don’t like your guitar chords loud, uplifting, and triumphant and your lyrics filled with tales of myth and wonder may want to stop reading this right now. Unless you’re reading for my eclectic, wit-infused writing style, that is. On the other hand, for those of you who are “in the know” when it comes to this oft-misunderstood sub-genre, this is definitely an album you want on your playlist.
The best way that I could describe the band’s overall style is in terms of a back-and-forth: there are guitar riffs that vary from sludgy to clean, and songs that shift from the aggressive to the melodic (not that the two are mutually exclusive). The vocal stylings alternate between clear, melodic lyrics sung by female vocalist Kaisa Jouhkiand and throaty death vocals sung by male vocalist Tomi Mykkänen. This makes the vocal style of the band somewhat similar to Opeth – except with two people doing it, rather than the same person doing two separate vocal styles.
This “back and forth” approach is especially apparent on tracks such as “Of Orcs and Elves,” where the song seems to switch from orcish to elvish perspectives throughout the song. Of course, that’s not to say that it’s all back and forth: there’s also frequent overlap of the contrasting styles, as well as a few songs that seem to stick with only one approach. The overall effect creates a wonderful sense of variety wrapped up in a shell of standard power metal goodness (guitars, drums, loudness, lyrics about orcs and elves). Which is good, because if there’s one thing I hate, it’s shelling out $20.99 + tax for an import CD where every track sounds the same (I’m talking to you, Bolt Thrower!)
I could not find Battlelore’s latest album, so I am in no position to give any specific advice regarding its purchase. However, if it’s anything like the group’s previous album, I’d be willing to bet it’s worth a listen, especially if you like your metal and you like it FANTASTICAL. In fact, I’d be willing to bet $20.99 + tax on it. Any takers?