|Review: Elvenking - The Scythe|
Label: AFM Records
Year released: 2007
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: November 6, 2007
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Rated 3/5 (60%) (15 Votes)
What the fuck? I was a bit of a fan of Elvenking's debut Heathenreel way back when, because even if it wasn't always compelling, at least they were interesting. Successive albums have caught my fancy less and less, but I still have kept a spot on my playlist for each one as it comes out. I thought Winter's Wake was really piss-poor, and so I kind of avoided reviewing it, because I don't really like to sling shit at bands I once liked. A weakness of mine. But here I get this as a promo, so there is no ducking it.
Elvenking have always tried to combine folk and metal in innovative ways, and even if it made them sound kind of disjointed a lot of the time, you could see what they were trying to do. I had hopes, at the beginning, that they could gel their sound together and make it something unique. That hasn't happened, and Elvenking still sound as disjointed as they ever did, but that's not what's wrong with The Scythe. What is wrong with this album is that it is not any good. The once lively and innovative folk-riffing has been dumbed-down and made to sound more like something you'd hear on a HIM album - though a lot of the time, HIM manage much better songs than this. As a further annoyance, vocalist Damnagoras has not improved at all, and his stuffy-head tenor still sounds lame. On a debut you assume the band will improve, but after four albums, I guess we're kind of stuck with him. The vocal lines are not metal, or folky, or anything good, being more akin to alt-rock yapping like you'd hear on college radio.
The songwriting here fails utterly, and it is clear that whatever direction this band is headed in, it's not a very good one. There's an Emo/Goth gloss of trendy wanna-be-ism all over this in the dull hacking of the rhythm chunk guitars and the unimaginative vocal lines that are insulting when they are not boring. A few nice melodies get conjured up here and there, but are rapidly run over by the wretched crap that they seemed to think was a good way to go. Even if Elvenking were still as good as they were on their debut, the Folk Metal genre has expanded and overtaken them since then, and they would still be leftovers. But with this, Elvenking insult their past with an album demonstrating they aren't interested in doing anything but sucking. Crap of the month.
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