Battlelore - Evernight
Napalm Records
Epic Gothic Metal
9 songs (42:51)
Release year: 2007
Battlelore, Napalm Records
Reviewed by Kayla

It makes a certain amount of sense that a band from Finland would take as strongly to Tolkien’s work as Battlelore has. Tolkien’s mythos is based extensively on Norse mythology; he studied it extensively, and while in college founded a literary society he called the Kolbitar, or Coalbiters, dedicated to translating the Kalevala into English. It’s a fitting tribute, then, that Battlelore would dedicate themselves to translating his works into music. Evernight is their fourth full-length album, a sweeping, epic offering that, I will admit, I enjoy as both a metalhead and one who devoted an entire semester in college to studying Tolkien and his works.

Intensity and atmosphere are the watchwords this time around; while a certain level of bombast is a given in a band like Battlelore, for Evernight they’ve created nine massive, sprawling soundscapes, shifting and multilayered. Rather than technicality, melody is what creates the massive energy that flows through the album, carried both by deft guitarwork and symphonic elements, and the dual clean and growled vocals of Kaisa Jouhki and Tomi Mykkänen. While some of those symphonic elements are obviously synthesized, there’s also a lot of truly acoustic portions, which do a great deal to warm and soften the overall sound. House Of Heroes and Longing Horizon are the best examples of this, especially the latter; what begins as an intro portion is repeated about halfway through the song, a quiet but well-paced melody on acoustic guitar that serves to lend the song a surprising kind of coherency.

The songs, as well as the album itself, seem to be built rather than played; the tone, for the most part, is very thick and rich, offset by some of the percussion work; the cymbals are sometimes used opposite the keys in a bell-like manner, carrying both up above the melodic furor. At the heights, the effect is almost a wall of sound, which can sometimes serve to muddy the sense of melody, although it is never lost completely. However, the heights always give way to softer lulls (as in Longing Horizon), pulling back and unifying the sound. The atmosphere is very much like that of a chaotic battlefield; I can clearly see in my mind’s eye the epic legions of Sauron crashing upon the walls of Helm’s Deep, the glinting of blades and arcing paths of arrows standing out from the controlled insanity. Do you have to be a fantasy nerd to appreciate the aural battle scenes? No, but it does help.

The contrasting layering found in the songs carries over well into the overall structure of the album. The opener, House Of Heroes, is one of the more high-energy songs, with a compelling descending melody that works well to draw in the listener immediately. The following two songs, Ocean’s Elysium and Summon The Wolves, are much more straightforward in comparison, with flatter, surging melodies (this simplicity is comparative; like the rest of the songs on the album, the layers of melody are continually shifting, adding and pulling back). The effect is the similar to the effect of the melody shifts within the songs themselves, adding that much more cohesiveness to the album as a whole.

It’s always heartening to see a band going strong, and Evernight is an epic, melodic pillar of strength, and a fitting addition to their discography.

Killing Songs :
House Of Heroes, We Are The Legions, Longing Horizon
Kayla quoted 84 / 100
Other albums by Battlelore that we have reviewed:
Battlelore - Doombound reviewed by Jaime and quoted 79 / 100
Battlelore - Sword Song reviewed by Marty and quoted 80 / 100
Battlelore - ...Where The Shadows Lie reviewed by Jack and quoted 75 / 100
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