Where The Shadows Lie
Review by Jack on April 10, 2002.
If one were to take 1/4 Amon Amarth, 1/4 Tristania, 1/8 Finntroll, 1/8 Diablerie and 1/4 symphonic black metal the result would be Battlelore’s latest album “Where the Shadows Lie”. We have here quite an exceptional blending of the above bands to make such an interesting blend of metal.
Shredding guitars, pulsating vocals ala Johan Hegg (Amon Amarth) and abstinent drum blasts one minute, and then one second later, shifting to calmer waters in the form of lush female vocals, and abstract theatrical symphonic synthesizer sections. And thus lies the form of music that Battlelore clearly divulge to all. What else becomes blatantly obvious to the listener, besides their brand of tunes, is how much how these guys dig their Tolkein. Titles like ‘Khazad-dum Part 1 (Ages of Mithril)’ and ‘Ride with the Dragons’ do absolutely nothing to muddy the waters or keep the listener guessing as to what form of concepts and lyrics Battlelore deal with. And to even further enlighten the consumer, the whole ensemble of Battlelore are dressed in the garb that would make Peter Jackson and the boys contemplate firing their current makeup/costume staff. The team consists of Scaurum (Gandalf/Saruman lookalike), Thrangull (Gimli), Halltar (Arwen #1), Uglur (a burly hobbit/halfling), Azog (Gollum), Lalaith (Arwen #2, possibly Galadriel) and Gwaeron (sort of a zombified Legolas/Boromir). If the music wasn’t so much of a standout, I could clearly see where all the work had gone.
Besides the amusing fantasy side that Battlelore have clearly got happening for them in “...Where the Shadows Lie”, the music is clearly something that needs to be highlighted constantly. Self dubbed “True Arctic Fantasy Metal”, Battlelore are elaborate as the thickness of their makeup on their cute little elvish and goblin faces. What I mean by this is that Battlelore take no shortcuts when recording and composing a song. Every riff, chord and beat are well thought out and forged to create a truly fantastical experience in metal. The only real complaint I have with Battlelore and “...Where the Shadows Lie” is that they seem to take the existing formulas of the aforementioned bands and create something different, whether intentional or not is a different question as Battlelore seem to be a band that is rather reclusive, hermits if you like.
Bottom Line: Whilst having questionable originality, Battlelore are an extremely credible band and what else do you want and need from a band, when they are dressed up as your favourite “Lord of the Rings” action figures!
Categorical Rating Breakdown
Rating: 8 out of 10