Elvenking – Red Silent TidesSeptember 20, 2010
Elvenking are without doubt, my favourite folk metal band. As one of the only major players who have embraced the classic rock and metal sound, along with a dash of punk, as opposed to the seemingly endless carbon copy melo-death/pagan/viking/sea turtle folk that seems to crop up all over the place.
Last year’s Two Tragedy Poets was a brilliant experiment for the band, by and large bringing their sound back to a folk-rock vibe, after 2006′s aggressive The Scythe. Cutting back the heavy over-distorted riffs benefits the record immensely, What’s Left of Me‘s acoustic intro slides seamlessly into the overdriven section where before it sounded sloppily put together. Winter Wake wasn’t entirely innocent in this, either. It seems that Elvenking have begun to deviate away from metal towards heavy rock, similar to Edguy in recent years. Not only does it make the band, and in particular this record, stand out from the pack, but Red Silent Tides is one of the best things that Elvenking has produced, more mature than Wyrd and more thoughtful than The Scythe.
As one of those bands who only just about qualify as falling into the folk umbrella, there are the usual fiddles, maybe an accordion here and there. However, things seem to be taking more an influence of folk, the lyrical content and melodies in particular. And while the singing isn’t the most tuneful you’ll ever hear, it’s honest and some surprising harmonies crop up in the choruses, see Silence De Mort, which also contains a killer guitar melody as a duet with a fiddle.
No Vikings, no Thor and no stupid facepaint and armour. Red Silent Tides is a very enjoyable, haunting and at times upbeat record from a band that have never really achieved the success as their mainstream peers. Which is a shame, because Red Silent Tides is a shit ton better than Ensiferum’s latest table coaster.