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Elvenking – The Night Of Nights

The Night Of Nights
by Tim Bolitho-Jones at 07 January 2016, 7:17 PM

Now this one needs commitment. “The Night Of Nights” is the first ever live album by Folk Metallers ELVENKING and it’s a whopper. Running for over two hours and featuring a massive twenty-five tracks, it’s a bit like going to the best party of the year but hanging around for just a bit too long, getting tired and coming dangerously close to having an argument with your friends at the end. It’s loads of fun, but this is one of those albums that require an interval, an over-priced program and ice cream or it can get exhausting.

The good news however is this double disc (plus DVD) perfectly captures the full intensity of an ELVENKING show. It’s overly dramatic but also playful, upbeat and it sounds like everyone involved had a really good time. Plus, it demonstrates in one neat package just how many great songs the Italians have in their repertoire. They might not command the column inches that the likes of ELUVEITIE or ENSIFERUM do, but the likes of “Elvenlegions” and “Trows Kind” are the sort of anthems that’ll make you want to chug down mead and dance for hours while wearing nothing but a kilt. The glorious drunken singalong of “Pagan Revolution” early in the set list does raise the question of whether they’ve peaked too soon, but then the high-spirited likes of “Moonbeam Stone Circle” and “Through Wolf’s Eyes” blast through the speakers and the choruses just keep coming.

Additionally, while the runtime is daunting the band does keep things varied enough to hold your attention for well into the second half before fatigue sets in. There’s a three song unplugged section in the middle consisting of “From Blood To Stone,” “Skywards” and “Disillusion’s Real” that serves as a break from all the manic jigging, before they play the epic “Seasonspeech,” the longest song on offer. It’s a grandiose and magnificently executed slice of high drama that conjures images of Celtic armies clashing over ancient lands and manages to be arguably the finest point of the entire album.

It’s also the exact point where casual listeners will start glancing at the clock, consider turning it off and doing something else as by now, well over an hour has gone past and the end is still a long way off. Stick with it though because “The Night Of Nights” still has a few great songs to showcase, with “The Winter Wake” and a closing “Pagan Purity” both justifying the commitment. ELVENKING diehards and anyone who was at this particular gig will love it, but the big question is whether anyone else should pick it up?

Well, the short version is yes, provided you’re a fan of Folk Metal and already own the big releases by the genre’s leading lights. As far as live albums go, this is one of the better ones but it has the old problem of not being as good as studio recordings. It is a perfect snapshot of all the spilled alcohol mayhem of an ELVENKING show, but if you can’t explain who “Cernunnos” is without going on Wikipedia first, give it a spin on Spotify before opening your wallet.

4 Star Rating

1.      The Manifesto
2.      Trows Kind
3.      The Wanderer
4.      Runereader
5.      Pagan Revolution
6.      She Lives At Dawn
7.      Jigsaw Puzzle
8.      Elvenlegions
9.      The Cabal
10.  A Prayer To Cernunnos
11.  Moonbeam Stone Circle
12.  Symohn’s Bash
13.  From Blood To Stone
14.  Skywards
15.  Disillusion’s Real
16.  Elven Aftermath
17.  Seasonspeech
18.  Through Wolf’s Eyes
19.  The Divided Heart
20.  Neverending Nights
21.  The Winter Wake
22.  Era Theme
23.  The Loser
24.  To Oak Woods Bestowed
25.  Pagan Purity
Aydan – Guitars
Damna – Vocals
Rafahel – Guitars
Lethien – Violin
Symohn – Drums
Jakob - Bass
Record Label: AFM Records


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