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Elvenking
The Scythe

Company: AFM Records
Release: 2007
Genre: Power, folk
Rating: 2
Reviewer: Vinaya

  • A tendency toward commercialized mediocrity



  • Being a fan of diverse and tuneful metal with a flair for the slightly unusual or different, I was keen to check out an Elvenking release for the first time after hearing some of the clever folk-inspired metal they had delivered in the recent past. Getting this album, however, had me seriously wondering if I had them confused with another band, given the sheer number of bands out there today and the difficulty in keeping track of them--not to mention the content of the album itself.

    I regret to say, however, that I was not mistaken. Instead, what we have here is an Elvenking album that is such a jolting, awkward departure that one could easily be forgiven for thinking the wrong CD has been packaged with the artwork for The Scythe. Gone for the most part is the classy and unique, folk-influenced power metal that essentially ensured their reputation, replaced by an embarrassingly self-conscious, watered-down, almost shopping mall-ready form of kiddie metal, with only faint hints of the violin and other elements that once distinguished the band.

    What's even worse, however, is what has taken the place of the band's trademark sound. Instead of the smart, eclectic and tasty twist on power metal Elvenking were once known for, The Scythe is chock full of the kind of trite, rote metal-by-numbers that seems to be pretty much the only type of "heavy" sound tolerated on commercial radio (at least Stateside). Songs alternate between straight mid-tempo radio metal anthems and moderately fast holler-along chug-fests, both usually driven by clichéd and unimaginative riffs, saved only by the occasional folk flourishes, as on the short but welcome instrumental (well, mostly) respite offered on "Totentanz."

    In fan comments I've read online, much of the blame for this album's annoying tendency toward commercialized mediocrity is assigned to recently returned singer Damnagoras. Much to my irritation (and apparently that of others), his whiny "melodic" vocals and utterly clichéd and generic death growls are all over the place on The Scythe. Worse, he seems to feel the need to throw pretentious, way too self-serious spoken intros at the beginning of several songs on the album. Rumor has it that the music of My Chemical Romance played a part in influencing his current thinking. Whatever the case, The Scythe strikes me as the kind of mistake made by so many metal bands who tried (often against their better judgment) to enter the mainstream, losing their credibility and creative vitality, and in many cases, not picking up too many fans from the mainstream audience they were attempting to court. A truly unfortunate choice from what had appeared to be a band with major promise.


    About this Writer:
    Vinaya Saksena // Vinaya is either a writer who dabbles in guitar playing, or a guitar player who dabbles in writing. A Maximum Metal staffer since 2004, he has also served as a reporter for several newspapers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Although his obsession with music is such that it does not allow time for much else by way of hobbies, he also enjoys traveling, trivia, photography, British comedy and the occasional A-Team re-run.

    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



    ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: ELVENKING
    CD
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    Red Silent TidesElvenking
    2010
    Ravana4/1/2011
    The ScytheElvenking
    2007
    Vinaya Saksena3/6/2009
    The Winter WakeElvenking
    2006
    Veritas7/3/2006
    Two Tragedy PoetsElvenking
    2009
    Raising Iron6/16/2009


    ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: ELVENKING

    No Summary reviews currently exist for them.


    ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: ELVENKING
    INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE


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