Elvenking - Secrets of the Magick Grimoire
AFM Records
Power Metal
12 songs (61' 16")
Release year: 2017
Elvenking, AFM Records
Reviewed by Andy

It's been a long time since Heathenreel, and Elvenking has slowly matured from a young band with a hit debut that was hard to surpass, to a seasoned group of veterans who know what the listeners want and are determined to give it to them. Accordingly, Secrets of the Magick Grimoire tosses out virtually all of their past attempts to be dark or gritty in favor of an emphasis on folkish power metal in a similar style to what they did early on.

Elvenking has come close to surpassing themselves in bombast this time around, but their production is smoother than ever. Not uncomfortably so, but medium-tempo pieces such as Draugen's Maelstrom, underpinned on the choruses by a double-kick, have original vocalist Damna singing breathily to a sparkling clean acoustic guitar like latter-day Dark Moor. They never let it get too far, though; the choppy riffing and the stomping folk melodies give the music a needed punch, and Damna's often high voice has enough steel under it that Elvenking doesn't really need the harsh "death metal" guest vocals that they persist in using at times.

Though everyone's competent, this has always been a band whose productions reflect more raw enthusiasm and over-the-top dramatics than technical skill or folk minimalism. A lot of the time, this yields a strong power metal song, such as The Voynich Manuscript or Summon the Dawn Light, but sometimes the lush strings combined with the meandering tunes leads the listener to a dead end, something that has always been a bit of an Achilles heel with Elvenking. Fans, however, will likely overlook this; the sound of Secrets of the Magick Grimoire reflects nothing if not passion on the band's part, and the often-cluttered sound is an Elvenking hallmark anyway. Secrets of the Magick Grimoire proves to be a solid effort that shows little experimentation, but delivers more of what everyone liked the most, although with some of the same weaknesses mixed in.

Killing Songs :
Draugen's Maelstrom, 3 Ways to Magick, The Voynich Manuscript
Andy quoted 81 / 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 - 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
Elvenking - The Scythe reviewed by Marty and quoted 69 / 100
To see all 9 reviews click here
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