The story of Elvenking takes a new turn.
Since 1997, the Italian band led by Aydan (guitar/vocals/keyboards) and Damna (vocals, Hell in the Club), then completed by Lethien (violin), Symohn (drums), Jakob (bass, Moonlight Haze) and HeadMatt (guitar, Chaos Factory) regularly announced epic albums. In 2023, Reader of the Runes – Rapture, the eleventh, comes out by AFM Records.
Rapture, the first track, sinks us back into this fantastic universe which quickly becomes darker and more energetic, letting the voices appear to guide us towards the battle. Folk roots are skillfully mixed with soft parts as well as martial charges before The Hanging Tree places aggressive and heady melodies to feed its solid rhythmic. Catchy vocal parts are a perfect complement to hooking riffs, just like on the joyful and motivating Bride Of Night, which will let violin lead its introduction. Heike Langhans’ (Remina, :LOR3L3I:, ex-Draconian) vocals easily strengthen the softer sounds, then the band takes us into a crazy and haunting dance with Herdchant, offering heady leads coupled with a vocalist in great shape. The song remains quite accessible, as does The Cursed Cavalier with its energetic heavy influences letting musicians offer a motivating sound which perfectly fits with what we expect from them. The band speeds up again with To The North and its Folk additions contrasting with screams and more aggressive parts, while the more federative elements are also striking, before finding occult sounds on Covenant, a rather dark track, which still knows how to place catchy parts. Red Mist, the next track, allows us a short moment of respite before letting its rhythmic drive again, before quietness gives way to Incantations and its martial approach, completed by heady sounds. Leads coupled with a heavy basis offer epic and melodic flights of fancy before letting An Autumn Reverie unveil soaring sounds, quickly crushed by a frantic charge, joined by unifying vocals. The album will end with The Repentant, a jerky and sometimes dissonant composition, which lets the band reveal some quite dark, even melancholic parts, before abandoning itself to rage for a grandiose final.
It seems impossible for Elvenking to disappoint their audience, and Reader of the Runes – Rapture will not make me lie. Whether the band obviously masters epic moments, we also find softness and darkness, giving a catchy rhythm to solid compositions.