Battlelore - Doombound
Napalm Records
Gothic Folk Metal
11 songs (54:06)
Release year: 2011
Battlelore, Napalm Records
Reviewed by Jaime
It's impressive how far a band can take a theme and keep it going without running out of steam. Six albums in and Battlelore are still finding parts of the Tolkien universe to put to music, one finds it very hard to do anything but praise their enthusiasm and dedication to the topic. Opening track Bloodstained on the other hand falls a bit flat. A mid-paced affair that attempts that big, epic style of track but never hits the mark, it just plods along without doing too much to stand out. The airy, almost spoken vocals from both Kaisa Jouhki and Tomi Mykkänen don't help matters either as they lack any of the bombast that this sort of thing needs. The drums sort of annoyed me here as well, with the snare and kick being a bit too similar in sound and prominent in the mix. The production on the whole is odd. The guitars and bass are lacking body and sound hollow and the keyboards lack a decent attack which makes them seem a tad lame. First song in and this isn't looking that great. Iron of Death ups the tempo a notch. Vocally it's a bit more interesting as the pair of them move into the styles that you'd expect from them given their previous albums and the same could be said of the music and structure with Tomi roaring over the rapidfire verses and Kaisa singing over the slower, but in this case pretty heavy, choruses. As a formula it works but it's repeated in the folkier sounding Bow and Helm straight after it to a slightly muted effect.

Interestingly, the almost pop like Enchanted manages to sit above the previous tracks in about almost all catagories. Sounding like a less saccharine Within Temptation song (not a difficult thing to accomplish) Kaisa's vocals carry the song wonderfully and the keyboards thinness is a bonus here as they support the song instead of overpowering it. The chorus sections are excellent, especially the Finnish/Elvish (They're similiar and the band sing about Tolkien, you never know...) parts that achieve that grand sound they were aiming for on the first track. Kärmessurma in contrast has Tomi doing most of the vocals but still keeps the quality up. Took them long enough! It's pretty heavy, and somewhat reminds me of Storm of The Blades from Third Age of The Sun which is a good thing. It's a bit more vigourous compared to the earlier songs as well, which is carried through into Olden Gods. If you had an image of Ensiferum pop up there then don't worry, this is like a less twee song of theirs mixed in with Battlelore's usual signature marks.

Fate of The Betrayed just didn't really capture my interest to be honest. It sounded a bit like a filler track, not bad but hardly memorable. If they had a bit more of what the did in the outro throughout the rest of the song, changing up the rhythms a bit, it'd have been a different matter. Men As Wolves has the drums by themselves for a bit in the intro and it just added to my grievances about how they sound. The song itself is, again, pretty much standard fare from the band with the vocalists taking either the verses or choruses and a fast to mid paced feel until about two and a half minutes in when things take a turn towards the more dramatic. It sure as hell caught me off guard and was an excellent surprise to have them change things up a bit more midsong. Last of The Lords starts off with the usual type of almost folky section before the verses go all grim and evil. Hell there's a big doom section in here as well! Why not do this sooner?! From here it moves into a massive sounding almost black metal part before repeating the chorus/intro which, when balanced out with everything else, sounds far better than it did opening the song. Next we come to the title track Doombound and the band manage to get that midpaced bombast right at last. As the longest track here the band take their time, not rushing to move beyond the verse/interlude/verse pattern that they've set up. Things take a little change about five minutes in where the acoustic guitars appear and a cello is introduced to take over the lead lines from the guitarists. It's a nice shift, I was expecting it to pick up pace and go full throttle instead but the restaint in doing so works better in my opinion. The outro sees the distorted guitars re-enter and play off the cello until the end. A very mellow affair followed but one even calmer track in Kielo, little instrumental to round it all off. Don't know if it was needed or anything but it's not bad.

The album takes a while to get into the swing of things. I've noticed a trend in bands opening with fairly dull mid paced songs that really don't grab you by the throat and want you to sit down and stay put and Battlelore sadly fall foul of it here. Men As Wolves would probably have worked far better as it's punchier and has that shift in the middle that draws you in. The production issues take a little bit of getting used to. The band really need to use harder sounding keyboard patches to give some of the songs some oomph that would make them all the more better. Regardless, once it hits its stride it doesn't really falter. If you like Battlelore you'll know what you're getting into, and the little twists stand out all the better for it. If you're just trying them for the first time stick with it and it'll pay off.
Killing Songs :
Enchanted, Kärmessurma, Men As Wolves, Last Of The Lords, Doombound
Jaime quoted 79 / 100
Other albums by Battlelore that we have reviewed:
Battlelore - Evernight reviewed by Kayla and quoted 84 / 100
Battlelore - Sword Song reviewed by Marty and quoted 80 / 100
Battlelore - ...Where The Shadows Lie reviewed by Jack and quoted 75 / 100
2 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 0 replies to this review. Last one on Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:04 pm
View and Post comments