The Winter Wake
7/3/2006 - Review by: Veritas
Elvenking - The Winter Wake - 2006 - AFM Records
The album kicks off with one of its best songs, “Trows Kind,” a truly inspiring and uplifting tune. My younger brother told me, as we listened to “The Winter Wake” in the car, that he thought all the world’s problems would vanish if everyone was forced to listen to “Trows Kind” once a day. I can’t help but agree. The highlights of this song are the choruses, which are sung by an eight-person choir (as are many of the choruses on the album). Making up the choir are several notable names – on the female side we’ve got three women who have added their voices to Elvenking albums in the past: Laura de Luca (also of Tystnaden), Giada Etro, and Pauline Tacy. Also lending her voice is Whisperwind, a member of Damna’s other band Leprechaun. The male choirs are sung by three of the band members – Eleghyn, Aydan, and Damna – and Claudio Coassin, frontman of the band Raintime. And, as an added bonus, the album’s producer (and guitarist in the famed Finnish band Thunderstone), Nino Laurenne, contributes a stellar guitar solo.
I wish I could talk about every single song off of this album in as much detail, but alas, this review would be entirely too long. I can only instead point out the rest of the album’s highlights. “The Winter Wake” features what at first seems like a very un-Elvenking techno-ish intro, followed by some cool thrash vocals courtesy of Schmier from Destruction. In addition, former guitarist Jarpen joined the Elves in the studio for a day to record a solo for this track. “On The Morning Dew” is probably Elvenking’s best acoustic piece save “Skywards.” Guest vocalist Laura de Luca’s beautiful voice would serenade even the most ferocious of beasts as it intermingles with Damnagoras’. Some of the best lead picking can be found on “Devil’s Carriage,” which sounds more like Wyrd-era Elvenking than the rest of the CD. The song with the best melody, and my personal favorite, is “Rouse Your Dream.” Somehow, the Elves took an extraordinarily simple piano melody and wrapped the entire song around it, infusing the riffs and choruses with this one little line. The results are beyond fantastic.
“The Winter Wake” is, in my opinion, the best album to come out in 2006 thus far. I cannot realistically see any band surpassing Elvenking either. Save their first album, “Heathenreel,” I have never beheld an album containing so much sheer emotion to the point where I’m totally overwhelmed each time I listen. Elvenking are and will forever be the best at what they do, as long as they keep making music. Damnagoras, Aydan, and company, I salute you. I have never said this in a review before, and I can’t imagine I will ever say it again: you’ve created a perfect album.
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