Elvenking - Red Silent Tides
AFM Records
Melodic Power Metal
11 songs (49:59)
Release year: 2010
Elvenking, AFM Records
Reviewed by Khelek

Elvenking is one of the first metal bands I heard that incorporated folk into their music, and I really liked the sort of fantasy/mystical quality these guys tried to build around their music. I found Heathenreel to be very enjoyable and I haven't heard many bands that combine folk and metal in quite the same way. Fast forward to 2007's The Scythe, an ambitious album that regrettably went nowhere as the band attempted to reinvent themselves as a more conceptual power metal act. It didn't work, and the band quickly returned to their roots with Two Tragedy Poets. Red Silent Tides is another attempt at a return, this time to more traditional power metal, and a very melodic form of it indeed. While this album does not have nearly the power and mystical quality that their earlier albums did, it's still a very listenable album, but it's just not the same Elvenking of years past.

For one thing, the folk elements seem to be almost entirely gone in favor of melodic guitars. Not necessarily a bad thing, but not what older Elvenking fans would expect. The soaring melodies are more akin to power metal than anything else, and they can be pretty cheesy at times. The failure of The Scythe seems to have made these guys want to get back to what they do best: write catchy memorable material. However I think the folk-influenced songs gave them an edge that is lost to a large extent on this album. Dawnmelting starts the album off with catchy albeit overused guitar riffs. The vocals of Damnagoras come in strong and the use of vocal melody matches the guitars quite well. There is a distant folk element present with the use of violins, though it is limited to the chorus background and makes almost no difference in the song. The Last Hour uses the violins more prevalently, yet I still feel like it's a thinly disguised power ballad, as is the case with many of the songs on this album. It's not necessarily bad, but the quality of the songwriting here can't touch albums like Heathenreel or The Winter Wake. Your Heroes Are Dead and Those Days also bring in a little bit of folk in the form of more violins. Yes there is definitely a cheese factor, but at the same time I am a sucker for melody and the guitar soloing, and this is what Elvenking is good at.

Unfortunately many of these songs have more in common with The Darkness than previous Elvenking tracks. Just listen to the vocal melodies and overused guitar hooks on Possession; it sounds to me like a much more immature version of their past work. I can’t really blame them for going backwards since their last attempt at a complex storyline album failed, but in some ways this could be considered worse.

At the end of the day this is a very listenable album, but that doesn't make it good. I enjoyed it the first few times through, but after that it just got dull. A few songs remain quite memorable, but other than that there's not much that will keep a serious listener coming back. The main reason that I enjoy their earlier work is because they blended folk with melodic/power metal in a way that hadn't been done before. This is not the case on Red Silent Tides. The folk elements are almost completely gone and the melodies themselves are knockoffs that can be heard in literally dozens of other power metal albums. While this album might be a step up from The Scythe, it's a very small step that doesn't propel the band forward in any way.

Killing Songs :
Silence De Mort, Runereader, Those Days
Khelek quoted 69 / 100
Vrechek quoted 40 / 100
Other albums by Elvenking that we have reviewed:
Elvenking - The Pagan Manifesto reviewed by Joel and quoted 85 / 100
Elvenking - Era reviewed by Olivier and quoted 80 / 100
Elvenking - Two Tragedy Poets (... and a Caravan of Weird Figures) reviewed by Alex and quoted 80 / 100
Elvenking - The Scythe reviewed by Marty and quoted 69 / 100
Elvenking - The Winter Wake reviewed by Marty and quoted 86 / 100
To see all 8 reviews click here
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