This review is copied from the old layout in order to have it on the new database. I will continue to update these properly as time goes on.
Folk Metal, Melodic Power Metal
February 22nd, 2011
- Dawnmelting – 4:09
- The Last Hour – 4:39
- Silence de Mort – 4:27
- The Cabal – 4:20
- Runereader – 5:23
- Possession – 4:07
- Your Heroes are Dead – 3:54
- Those Days – 4:06
- This Nightmare Will never End – 4:46
- What’s Left of Me – 4:39
- The Play of the Leaves – 5:30
Release length: 49:59
Review posted on February 27th, 2011
Have you ever wondered what Alternative Folk Rock might sound like? Well, Elvenking creates the closest thing to it. This veteran act in the Metal scene formed back in 1997 in Italy, forging together a Melodic Power Metal approach with Folk Metal structures, though many of songs seem to take on a much lighter musical concept similar to the airy, more Alternative Rock and mainstream Gothic Rock acts you may hear on the radio, to more stylish Symphonic acts such as Visions of Atlantis this time around. Given the mixed reaction this band typically receives with their full-lengths, one can only imagine the same kind of reception to Red Silent Tides, the band’s sixth full-length release, and trust me, mixed emotions will be abound.
Red Silent Tides does manage to capture the more Melodic Power Metal idea, but it’s a more subtle presence then anything. As stated, the key sound of this recording comes off more like an Alternative Rock band composed some of the tracks, or even a radio-friendly Gothic Rock act. The material on here is rather airy and a little more up beat then what one would expect from a Power Metal act of any kind, and while it’s not bad, it’s also not interesting either, leaving many tracks to be very catchy with simplistic music, but often forgettable. “Dawnmelting” starts with a very cheesy introduction that does a good job at setting the release up with it’s spoken word narrative approach, and then the actual song kicks in, and it’s hard to take notice of the Melodic Power Metal aspects of the song through a good majority of the track, though they are they, but in a subtle manner. The same can be said about “The Last Hour”, just sans the introductory spoken word section. The first time the Power Metal influences really seem to stick out here is “Silence de Mort”, which shows some more refined Power Metal riffs against the higher pitched singing that is more commonly associated by many of today’s Alternative Rock act. Yes, they do work with the recording, but that’s only because the material feels more laid back and much lighter then, say, their second full-length album, Wyrd. After this point, the album does manage to include some more Power Metal-like sections of music in the songs, and those sections typically help the recording out far greater then anything else.
The lighter tracks on here feel a little weak and purposely commercialized, and it’s a bit disheartening considering what Elvenking is capable of. Some of the tracks that follow the opening material take on a slightly heavier, less commercial feel, and sometimes really push the Melodic Power Metal part of their sound well. “Runereader”, for instance, has a very epic Power Metal section that kicks in around the final third of the song that is powerful and really gets the blood pumping, but it doesn’t last too long, which again is disheartening, but the actual Power Metal material the band presents on this track has a heavier vibe to it with a powerful vocal performance that doesn’t feel like it’s lacking energy. This is what many would commonly expect from Elvenking, and it winds up being a very strong track that still retains a bit of that airy feel, though still retains that heavy guitar distortion that makes it a little heavier then the more commercial-sounding tracks.
But while commercialized or mainstream Metal isn’t the worst thing in the world, it’s bad in this case as the material becomes weak. Much of the first few tracks of this release doesn’t really even feel Metal, taking on a more mainstream Rock approach, and is often more simple then it should be. “Dawnmelting” and “The Last Hour” are two songs that are well done, but they feel as if the band isn’t really even exerting any energy into the songs themselves, like they are just recording the songs so they’ll be out of the way. They, as well as some others on this recording, feel lifeless and bland due to the more simple generic compositions of mainstream success acts, and like “Dawnmelting” and “Silence de Mort” felt, come off insanely forgettable. Luckily, this isn’t all the material on the recording, as “Runereader” is good, as mentioned above, and the power balled that follows, “Possession” is also another good track that has a powerful presence to it, but sadly doesn’t quite read that emotional level one would expect it have. “Your Heroes are Dead” finds the band really taking the heaviness of their music into consideration with a song that features a much faster pace coupled with some slower bridges, a light atmosphere to it, but a sound that is still undoubtedly Metal and with a heavy amount of guitar distortion and an energetic performance all around, making it one of the more memorable and catchy tracks of the whole recording.
It’s sad to say that this album does take a few tracks to really pick up, but there’s only a few tracks on here that are genuinely memorable, and they have already been mentioned. The first few tracks come off as forgettable, and the rest of the material here aside those few songs that are memorable come off as entertaining, catchy song, but don’t really offer anything too special or memorable. Red Silent Tides is an ok album. It’s far from bad, but it’s alost not that great a release. While devoted fans of Elvenking may enjoy this release a little more, but that’s about the extent of it.