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Dwarrowdelf - Evenstar Award winner

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 28 August 2020, 12:37 PM

From their Bandcamp page, "Evenstar" is the third full-length album from DWARROWDELF, released via Northern Silence Productions. In the world of J.R.R. Tolkien, following the journey of Aragorn and his quest to earn Arwen's hand in marriage, this record sees DWARROWDELF incorporating wider Melodeath and Folk metal influences into their particular brand of Atmospheric Metal to create a truly unique musical journey. The album contains seven tracks.

“Estel” leads us off. It is the Sindarin word for hope, or trust. It was a name of Aragorn, given to him when his mother Gilraen took him to Rivendell as a child. It opens with a slow, Folky groove, then drops to an almost Dungeon Synth sound. The main riff hits and I can hear the Melodeath influences here. The vocals are guttural utterances at first, then clean later. The song is very solemn but emotive at the same time. “Undómiel” is Arwen’s last name. It opens slowly and with subtle and pretty melodies. Then, a harsh vocal scream washes over the track. While the melodies play out, charming and tender, the vocals rage. Synths occupy the background here, while the clean vocals tug at your heart in the chorus.

“For the Kingdom I Shall Claim” is just over seven-minutes in length. It opens with a majestic quality. The guitar solo is fantastic. Harsh vocals come over a bed of easy, melodic tones that are both alluring and angry. How he puts together the melodies is the key to the sound. Tom alternates between clean and harsh vocals. The interlude just after the half-way mark gives you pause to soak up the beauty, then the harsh vocals are back through the end of the song. “The Eagle of the Star” features a tug and pull from charming, hopeful passages, to harsh and angry ones. But, the eye is always on the melodies. The “oohs” after the second chorus really allow you to take in the beauty here.

“In Pursuit of Ghosts” opens with a raucous Black Metal energy, with drums played in quad time and a flurry of guitar riffs. It settles into a groove, with harsh vocals. Pretty keys make an entrance around the half-way mark, along with a tin whistle. Then, it’s back to that original, punishing pace in the opening. Roaring towards a crescendo towards the end, it rests finally on a soft, warm bed of synth. “The Three Hunters” opens with a low and slow riff, and a commanding presence. “At dawn, we look to the east…” an iconic line from The Two Towers. The interplay of guitars following the second chorus is nothing short of beautiful. It pushes towards the end, with harsh vocals, and a captivating melody that will blow you away.

“Return” closes the album, at just under eight minutes. It opens with charming key notes and strings. At first, harsh vocals play with guitar melodies. Then, an interlude, and it finishes on a whirlwind of sound, followed by alluring piano notes. Overall, I found the album to be fantastic. The way Tom duals with two competing sounds, while keeping the melody at the forefront is amazing. He mashes two styles…Folk and Melodeath so well, and the supporting instruments help to thicken and round out the sound. His harsh vocals are absolutely intense, but support the sound instead of taking it over. His sense of timing on the melodies is impeccable to boot. This is an album all Metal fans can enjoy.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Estel
2. Undómiel
3. For the Kingdom I Shall Claim
4. The Eagle of the Star
5. In Pursuit of Ghosts
6. The Three Hunters
7. Return
Tom O'Dell – All Instruments (unless otherwise credited), Vocals
Joe Bollettiero – Drums
Jeremy Reinhold – Guitar solo (Track 3)
Mike Lamb – Piano (Tracks 3 and 7)
Kristoffer Graemesen – Tin Whistle (Track 5)
Record Label: Northern Silence Productions


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