It is hard to believe that Jyri Vahvanen, the founder of this Fantasy-soaked ensemble from Finland, actually came from nihilistic Black Metal commando HORNA, but on the other hand if you compare these two acts musically I can fully understand, why this music did and does not even remotely fit with his former band. Yes, BATTLELORE are back with their fourth album, entitled “Evernight” and many people will ask, if there was any evolution compared to the previous efforts and I have to say that there is some to be detected, but definitely not much.
They still play roughly the same mix of Gothic Metal, Epic Metal and Fantasy atmosphere and let’s put it like this, they will still please their fans of old, but I seriously doubt that they will be able to attract many new listeners to their sound. One factor that from the beginning had split the audience was the vocals. On the one hand Tomi Mykkänen has a pretty harsh Death Metal voice, while on the other hand his female counterpart Kaisa Jouhki has a very nice and well-sounding voice, which, alas, lacks a bit of power to produce more of a presence within the songs.
That aside the compositions definitely are mature, well done and some of them a bit more dynamic than others, which is welcome. The Finns know how to write good and catchy melodies and never overtax the listener with too many intricacies in their songs. Speedwise they mostly operate in the mid-paced regions, but dip into calmer or raise into faster passages enough to build up the mentioned dynamics that loosen up the songs. Especially when they utilize this formula they succeed in creating gripping and entertaining songs, with the best examples being “Summon The Wolves”, “Into The New World” (with an excellent Doom opening) and the more powerful “Beneath The Waves”, while the other songs either do not stand out much (without being degraded to pure filler material, though) or, as in the case of “Mask Of Flies”, try a more modern guitar sound, which definitely does not work with me.
In any case, “Evernight” is a solid album, which, as said, will cater to the fans they already have, yet will hardly bring anybody new into their fanbase, also because they do not show enough signs of actually evolving as a band, but rather play it safe, you be the judge.
(Online March 25, 2007)