by Franco Cerchiari
– Sr. Columnist —
With their blend of Folk, Symphonic and Power Metal, Italy’s Elvenking was formed in 2007 with this being their ninth studio release and the follow up to 2014’s excellent Pagan Manifesto. Released on the AFM Records label, this is a no-holds-barred outing with loud, melodic, pompous, grandiose, vocal heavy, keyboard, and guitar-laden melodies, giving an ode to other worlds, spells, fantasy, and forest-dwelling mythical creatures. The songs are heavily layered, and this album solidifies the very spirit of what Elvenking is all about. They play their songs with no remorse and create each passage and song showcasing their preferred genre of music. Yeah, the lyrics are cheesy, but still this is great stuff. And you gotta give it to these guys, what they do, they do with all their heart, and that can never be a bad thing. Fans of Freedom Call, Ordan Ogan, Twilight Force, Fairyland, Dreamtale, and Dionysus will love this.
The songs are structured wonderfully, the sound is amazing, and it’s a great thing when music blends perfectly with the vocals and coming in and out of focus are keyboards and guitar refrains that come on strong and just as quickly fade into the background allowing the listener to once again pay attention to the storylines. The accompaniment coming from the instruments can make or break a song, knowing when to showcase each of them is what makes a song great, and Elvenking, like many of their cohorts in the sub-genre such as is the music heard here, are one of the good ones. A note must also be given to the singing style of frontman David “Damna” Moras (who is also the vocalist for Hell in the Club) who possesses the uncanny ability to transcend from the melodic to Power Metal naturally.
Secrets of the Magick Grimoire opens with “Invoking The Woodland Spirit” with an introduction complete with strings, whispered vocals, and Symphonic refrains that soon explodes into the sound that is all Elvenking. The song is a grandiloquent, heroic, loud, furious song that goes nonstop with outstanding guitars and keyboards. Damna sings his lungs out, and keeping pace with him is a melody that shoots to the stars during the chorus. From there listen (loudly) to the heavy riffs and growling vocals of “Draugen’s Maelstrom” to the Folk Metal of “The One We Shall Follow,” a song where a piano peeks its way through the melody and a guitar shines through with hooks and power chords.
The aggressive “At The Court Of The Wild Hunt” features guest vocals done by Snowy Shaw (Dream Evil, Dimmu Borgir, King Diamond, Therion.) The drums of “Grain Of Truth” were outstanding, and “The Wolves Will Be Howling Your Name” was a true blend of Folk and Power. “Straight Inside Your Winter” could be defined Melodic Metal, and it is the bass that gives this song its punch. The closing track, “A Cloak Of Dusk” is gorgeous, with little more than strings and an acoustic guitar being the only instruments heard.
Good stuff here, complete with all the Folk, Symphonic, and Power that the fans of this long-time band could want to hear. Secrets Of The Magick Grimoire continues to showcase the type of music that Elvenking plays and play damn well.
Genre: Folk Metal, Power Metal
Damna – vocals
Aydan – guitars
Rafahel – guitars
Jakob – bass
Symohn – drums
Lethien – violins
1. Invoking The Woodland Spirit
2. Draugen’s Maelstrom
3. The One We Shall Follow
4. The Horned Ghost And The Sorcerer
5. A Grain Of Truth
6. The Wolves Will Be Howling Your Name
7. 3 Ways To Magick
8. Straight Inside Your Winter
9. The Voynich Manuscript
10. Summon The Dawn Light
11. At The Court Of The Wild Hunt
12. A Cloak Of Dust
Label: AFM Records
Hardrock Haven rating: (8.5 / 10)