It’s been three years that an Italian band released its debut, “Heathenreel“, and surprised and baffled me at the same time, because what I heard there was so not the usual sound from the land of pizzas, because their Power Metal was induced with Folk elements, a bit of Middle Age and also some growls, everything done really well and all. After that I didn’t hear anything from them anymore, until now “Wyrd” squeezed into my CD player.
Who wonders about the title, “wyrd” is an Anglo Saxon word that has strong associations to magic and basically means the past, while other sources call “wyrd” the drum of destiny. Oh, I forgot, the band I am talking about is ELVENKING and despite the rather Tolkien-like name we do not have another dragon slaying fantasy band here, because the songs have more lyrical depth for sure.
As usual the first track “The Loser’s Ball“ is not a full song, but stands somewhere between intro and instrumental, violin, folky rhythm, fitting melody and acoustic guitars, plus female and male vocals, flowing into “Pathfinders”, at times pretty darn fast, double-bass driven Folk Power Metal with violin, great melodies and very good vocals, here and there accentuated by some growls, very much benefiting from the big production from the Gernhart Studios in Siegburg, very strong beginning!
“Jigsaw Puzzle“ then sounds like SKYCLAD on Power Metal, with a lot of violin, while “The Silk Dilemma“ is situated in a powerful mid-tempo, while the following “Disappearing Sands“ sounds a lot more bombastic, with a lot of power under the arse and again a few growls. So you can see that ELVENKING definitely have their style, but cover a wide spectrum with it, as shown by the great “The Perpetual Knot“, pure Folk Power Metal with violin and a great drive!
After that things get more Power Metal before the closing “A Poem For The Firmament“ starts out purely acoustic with vocals and a bit of violin, to break through in a bombastic all-out Power Metal eruption with layered vocals. After that it is partly epic, partly with piano, violin and female vocals and at times with machine gun double-bass, very strong closer for this album!
All in all “Wyrd“ has turned out to be a refreshing album, which should equally appeal to Power Metal and Folk Metal fans and just sounds so nicely different from the style-true standard that you mostly get. Only logical consequence: Search, find, check out, buy! (Online August 8, 2004)