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Elvenking - The Pagan Manifesto Award winner

The Pagan Manifesto
by Daniel Fox at 01 May 2014, 1:07 PM

ELVENKING are arguably one of Italy's biggest names on the metal front, next to RHAPSODY OF FIRE and LACUNA COIL. Their 2012 release of "Era" saw a band that had found a new vigor and muse, with new members Jakob and Symohn. "The Pagan Manifesto" sees an evolution upon that trajectory; carrying on the newer, heavier, more technical sound, and embellishing on it. "Era" was hard to improve, but I strongly believe that this new album is their best work to date.

"King of the Elves" is a 12-minute-long, Epic Power Metal song about elves; what more could we want? The thing I have always appreciated about the band is their ability to write melodic, pagan music about an original story; time and time again, without sounding like any other band. This track is one of their longest, most technical and easily most ambitious. It begins with a brutal, blast-beat-driven riff; as the track progresses, we see a beautiful arrangement of liquid dynamism, seamlessly transitioning between heaviness, and complex melodies, lest we forget the ever-important folk passages. Damna's voice is better than it has ever been, with a new height of power and range that he seemingly found on the "Era" performances. This track is multi-storied and multi-faceted, playing out like a metallic symphony, and is perhaps one of the greatest they have ever written.

"Elvenlegions" was an apt choice for the album's first single; a tireless, pounding and catchy cyclone of inspiration and power. The classic ELVENKING melodies of old are here, and are masterfully fused with their newer, more mature brand of heaviness. The technical grooves found on "Era" make a return, after each trailblazing chorus, which is highlighted by powerful vocals and the band's immortal folk melodies. "Twilight of Magic" stood out as a favorite, next to the grand "King of the Elves". This track is quite unlike most of their material; with fresh and uplifting chord progressions, staying well away from anything melancholic; there is nothing unhappy about this track; in fact, it should damn well lift anyone's mood. It's happy, frantic, and pure metal. I even sense a little of "Red Silent Tides" in this track; many of the vibes I adored on that album are present.

The growth and change of a band is inevitable, but it would seem ELVENKING is only progressing forward, exploring all avenues of their creativity and ability. Everything about this album makes it, at least in my opinion, their best effort to date.

5 Star Rating

1. The Manifesto
2. King of the Elves
3. Elvenlegions
4. The Druid Ritual of Oak
5. Moonbeam Stone Circle
6. The Solitaire
7. Towards the Shores
8. Pagan Revolution
9. Grandier's Funeral Pyre
10. Twilight of Magic
11. Black Roses for the Wicked One
12. Witches Gather
Damna – Vocals
Aydan – Guitars
Rafahel – Guitars
Jakob – Bass
Lethien – Violin
Symohn – Drums
Record Label: AFM Records


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