Elvenking - Era
AFM Records
Power/Folk Metal
12 songs (52'58)
Release year: 2012
Elvenking, AFM Records
Reviewed by Olivier

Joyful violin, skilled keyboard, on top of his from Damnagoras, some very good female vocals, raging and melodic guitars... yep, nothing is missing. Everything is there for a bombastic 7th Elvenking album.
It's uncanny how the first 20 seconds of the album simply makes you wonder if you put in a Children of Bodom CD by mistake. But fear not, this is unmistakably an Elvenking one, and a damn good one at that, although very different than what they used to produce back in the Heathenreel days. Era is a very diversified effort. Heavy at times, quiet at other. Melodic here, ball-grabbing there. And it's full of surprises too, without spoiling anything let's just say Jon Oliva (John Oliva's Pain, ex-Savatage) appears (and is tremendous), and that Teemu Mantysaari (Wintersun) also makes a contribution.

The Italian Folk Metal heroes are offering us a grower here. You probably won't be as convinced on first spin than in second or third, because both the songwriting and musicianship often - but not always - require full attention and involvement from the listener to be fully appreciated. For instance, while the fast-paced and at times technical The Loser flows easily, the mid-tempo-driven The Monster or the mellow and heartcrushing Forget-Me-Not can be hard to get into without full attention. Disregarding them would be a shame, because those are two of the best songs. I dare you not to solemnly sing the ending of Forget-Me-Not a hand on your chest, like a fool. It's going to be a killer, live. A Song for the People is a shorty, but a goody. The female vocals on that track are mesmerizing, too bad it is that short. Midnight Skies, Winter Sighs, Through Wolf's Eyes, Chronicle of a Frozen Era and We, Animals are solid energetic songs that will delight modern Elvenking fans, others probably a bit less. They feature powerful in-your-face bits and some delightful moments (though it will highly depend on the listener I am afraid), always backed by a simply perfect production.
Now, most important of all. A word on Walking Dead, the fastest and heaviest song on the album. It rocks. There. Not only the chorus is one of the catchiest thing I have heard in months, but it grabs you, empowers you, makes you want to tear a wall down with your bare fists and then punch everyone who stands behind it. It is simple and there is far better songwriting on the rest of the album, but this song is extremely efficient and fun. Honestly, I know already that every time I am going to reach out for Era, it will be for that straightforward, nuclear bomb of a chorus.

Era might well be the album that reconciles old and modern Elvenking fans. It improves what was attempted in the two previous albums, and yet is of a style of its own. While this is not the best album this band has ever produced, its perfect production, its cachet, its guests and that insanely catchy 7th track makes it a mandatory acquisition for any Elvenking fan, and a must-check-out for other Power/Folk Metal aficionados.

Killing Songs :
The Loser, The Monster, A Song for the People, Walking Dead, Forget-Me-Not
Olivier quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Elvenking that we have reviewed:
Elvenking - Reader of the Runes - Divination reviewed by Andy and quoted 80 / 100
Elvenking - Secrets of the Magick Grimoire reviewed by Andy and quoted 81 / 100
Elvenking - The Pagan Manifesto reviewed by Joel and quoted 85 / 100
Elvenking - Red Silent Tides reviewed by Khelek and quoted 69 / 100
Elvenking - Two Tragedy Poets (... and a Caravan of Weird Figures) reviewed by Alex and quoted 80 / 100
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