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WLM Reviews: Elvenking – Secret of the Magick Grimoire

November 4, 2017

Perhaps taking a turn away from their transformation into a pure Power Metal band, Elvenking looks to their past with their latest Secrets of the Magick Grimoire (AFM Records).

Once known as a band who displayed a heavy Folk influence in their music, Elvenking became a band that played PM with a tinge of their prior folksiness. Undoubtedly the band knows how to write a song and a catchy melody. With those going for it, along with the good singing from Damna (he’s a bit on the high register side for me), Elvenking builds on their legacy started long ago. While I’m probably getting a bit old to really enjoy the fantasy elements of their lyrics, the presence of epic, fantastic music goes a long way to smooth over that side of their album.

Elvenking has once again embraced Folk elements, having returned to a sound reminiscent of their debut. Those elements did seem to come up less often during their last couple of albums. I thought that was the case here with the first couple of songs showing essentially no Folk side of Elvenking. I figured what the band put forth on Invoking the Woodland Spirit and Draugen’s Maelstrom was the tone of the entire album – until the third song.

The One We Shall Follow, and then much more so in the following The Horned Ghost and the Sorcerer (I dare you to not sing along) definitely showed that Elvenking hasn’t left their Folk Metal roots behind. The former features a subdued Folk approach, while the latter has a much more medieval feel to it with fiddles and flutes. A Grain of Truth starts similarly, but quickly becomes a straight ahead Metal song with a trace of Folk and a healthy dose of aggression with some harsh vocals thrown in.

The Wolves Will Be Howling Your Name and 3 Ways to Magick are both dominated by the folky melodies that abound throughout the majority of each song. 3 Ways has an especially distinct construct with some tempo and rhythmic changes that seem designed to keep us on our toes. Straight Inside Your Winter (weird name) is very much on the average side of things, save for the chorus which is certainly catchy. Overall, though, it’s one of the weaker tracks on SecretsThe Voynich Manuscript has similar elements as 3 Ways, especially with a significant number of tempo changes. They actually make the song a bit disjointed. It doesn’t flow quite as well as many of the other tracks.

Taking a page from 90s Hard Rock, Summon the Dawn Light has a lighter feel along with a touch of folksiness. Decent song, but not one of my favorites here. At the Court of the Wild Hunt proves to be one of the heavier and aggressive songs on Secrets… It is also one of the more interesting songs, sort of breaking the mold of the Elvenking norm. Closing out the hour plus is A Cloak of Dust, essentially a ballad lifted by some excellent violin work.

Here is Invoking the Woodland Spirit:

Secrets of the Magick Grimoire is the best thing Elvenking has done in a while. Not to say recent releases were bad, but this album is quite strong from beginning to end. It’s not flawless, but the positives certainly outweigh the negatives by a long shot.

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