Reader Of The Runes - Rapture
Review by Vladimir on April 30, 2023.
It’s the end of April, and I wasn’t even sure if I was going to tackle into reviewing something near the very end or be able to, but I guess some opportunities suddenly appear out of thin air, and so is the case of the Italian melodic power/folk metal band Elvenking with their brand-new album. The band released their eleventh full-length album Reader Of The Runes – Rapture on April 28th via AFM Records. This might be interesting since I’ve decided to review this with absolutely no background or knowledge about the band and their previous works, however that doesn’t mean that probability of liking this album is far lesser by any means necessary.
'Rapture' begins this epic venture which you’ll embark on, filled with catchy but also powerful riffs and melodic leads, which are backed up with epic singing vocals, keyboards, acoustic guitars, violins and lutes. Guitar solos and acoustic sections on this track are both folky and neoclassical, which I’d say give a deeper musical layer. 'The Hanging Tree' is stylistically heavier with its riffing, although it still provides some very jolly and melodic moments during choruses. Although I expected to hear mostly clean epic singing vocals all throughout this album, the third track 'Bride Of Night' proves me wrong by introducing harsh vocals which will be appearing more frequently to take things further as the album progresses. Two songs which I liked a lot for their immense emotion and magic, expressed in both melodies and vocal performance, are 'Herdchant' and 'Red Mist'. Everything takes an even heavier turn with Blood, Fire and Death during the chorus of the badass and triumphant sixth track 'To The North', which melts the ice completely with its kickass heavy riffing and double-bass drumming. The last two songs which deserve some appreciation are the tenth track 'An Autumn Reverie', for its fast rhythmic moments, heavy riffs, epic chorus and powerful melodies and the eleventh track 'The Repentant', which at the very end threw some blast beats out of nowhere. The album is pretty lengthy with its total of nearly 55 minutes of runtime, although it managed to keep me entertained from start to finish. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this one since I am not so much of a modern folk or power metal fan to be honest, but as someone who just heard Elvenking for the first time, I have to say that this really wasn’t at all a bad first experience. I wasn’t particularly blown away or anything, but I sure did manage to get a good amount of enjoyment out of this, even if I am not really the targeted audience for a band such as this. Production-wise, the album is very high quality, although not in a sense of being completely sterile or too much for my liking. It does its justice to the guitars, drums, keyboards and vocals, keeping them at very smoothly balanced levels.
Even though I might seem like a completely ignorant dumbass that lived under a rock since I haven’t heard of Elvenking in all these years, nevertheless I find this a very good album from a first experience standpoint. Of course, the album shouldn’t be viewed just as a common case of “Yeah, there are nice moments here and there which stand out etc. etc.”, but it should be appreciated for what it is because it is indeed a commercial yet good product. Although I would find this mostly fitting for the fans of mainstream folk and power metal bands, as a newcomer I enjoyed it and I highly suggest that you check it out.
Rating: 8.4 out of 10656