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Elvenking - The Winter Wake - 2006 - AFM Records

Track Listing
1.Trows Kind
2. Swallowtail
3. The Winter Wake
4. The Wanderer
5. March of Fools
6. On the Morning Dew
7. Devil's Carriage
8. Rats are Following
9. Rouse Your Dream
10. Neverending Nights
11. Disillusion's Reel
12. Penny Dreadful
Every so often an album comes along that leaves a very deep yet very positive impression on the listener. Albums such as these do not necessarily display an extreme amount of technical proficiency or avant-garde songwriting. Rather, they possess the power, passion, and beauty to truly evoke a genuine emotional response. Elvenking’s “The Winter Wake” is one of these albums. Although it lacks the originality of “Heathenreel” and the extraordinary soloing of “Wyrd,” “The Winter Wake” is its own kind of unbelievable creation. On this album we see the band’s original vocalist, Damnagoras, reunited with guitarist Aydan, bassist Gorlan, violinist/keyboardist Eleghyn, and drummer Zender. Unfortunately, guitarist/growler Jarpen did not return for this album, and his absence is noted on both fronts to which he contributed. However, some simpler riffs with fewer leads over them do not even come close to spoiling this album.

The album kicks off with one of its best songs, “Trows Kind,” a truly inspiring and uplifting tune. My younger brother told me, as we listened to “The Winter Wake” in the car, that he thought all the world’s problems would vanish if everyone was forced to listen to “Trows Kind” once a day. I can’t help but agree. The highlights of this song are the choruses, which are sung by an eight-person choir (as are many of the choruses on the album). Making up the choir are several notable names – on the female side we’ve got three women who have added their voices to Elvenking albums in the past: Laura de Luca (also of Tystnaden), Giada Etro, and Pauline Tacy. Also lending her voice is Whisperwind, a member of Damna’s other band Leprechaun. The male choirs are sung by three of the band members – Eleghyn, Aydan, and Damna – and Claudio Coassin, frontman of the band Raintime. And, as an added bonus, the album’s producer (and guitarist in the famed Finnish band Thunderstone), Nino Laurenne, contributes a stellar guitar solo.

I wish I could talk about every single song off of this album in as much detail, but alas, this review would be entirely too long. I can only instead point out the rest of the album’s highlights. “The Winter Wake” features what at first seems like a very un-Elvenking techno-ish intro, followed by some cool thrash vocals courtesy of Schmier from Destruction. In addition, former guitarist Jarpen joined the Elves in the studio for a day to record a solo for this track. “On The Morning Dew” is probably Elvenking’s best acoustic piece save “Skywards.” Guest vocalist Laura de Luca’s beautiful voice would serenade even the most ferocious of beasts as it intermingles with Damnagoras’. Some of the best lead picking can be found on “Devil’s Carriage,” which sounds more like Wyrd-era Elvenking than the rest of the CD. The song with the best melody, and my personal favorite, is “Rouse Your Dream.” Somehow, the Elves took an extraordinarily simple piano melody and wrapped the entire song around it, infusing the riffs and choruses with this one little line. The results are beyond fantastic.

“The Winter Wake” is, in my opinion, the best album to come out in 2006 thus far. I cannot realistically see any band surpassing Elvenking either. Save their first album, “Heathenreel,” I have never beheld an album containing so much sheer emotion to the point where I’m totally overwhelmed each time I listen. Elvenking are and will forever be the best at what they do, as long as they keep making music. Damnagoras, Aydan, and company, I salute you. I have never said this in a review before, and I can’t imagine I will ever say it again: you’ve created a perfect album.

10/10

--Veritas 06.08.06


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 Poets…Elvenking
2009
Raising Iron6/16/2009


ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: ELVENKING

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ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: ELVENKING
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