Tolkien-based power metal bands, while providing a source of extreme humor for the metal world, are often a sure bet for some enjoyable yet not overly spectacular music. Epic choir singing, symphonic keyboard effects, melodic instrument work, and enchanting vocals most often accompany the (cheesy) lyrical themes. Battlelore’s second album Sword’s Song
Certainly has all of that. The music is epic with plenty of chanting and orchestral arrangements with some pleasant vocal work. Unfortunately, such a simple yet effective formula was not expanded upon here. For bands that play the described genre, “boredom" is usually a difficult thing to fall to. While Sword’s Song
has occasional high points, it is the text book example of poorly written music under said style. On the one hand, we have the incredible female vocals, which are very clean and soothing. On the other hand, we have the chugging riffs, which seem to add no dimension to the music, and seem oddly out of place with such accompaniment.
Heavy riffs and screaming can potentially be mixed to a lethal combination alongside symphonic mystical elements (see: [url=http://www.musicianforums.com/sputnik/bands.php?bandid=133 ]Children of Bodom[/url]). The main downfall of Battlelore is the over-emphasizing of brutality instead of focusing on the incredible soothing factor of their music. The riffs could’ve done perfectly well as a rhythm track while keys provided the main melody. However, their own rendition of “harsh vocals" often outweighs the merits they earn. Tomi sounds like a less fitting version of Johan Hegg. His voice is a deep, unpolished grown that does not at all aid the melodic aspects of the music. Kaisa handles most of the vocal duty, which is the band’s main redemption.
The music itself is an odd combination of brutal riffs and melodic synth work. Once the initial awkwardness of the non-complimentary elements, the music seems to flow adequately well with the occasional clash. Sons of Riddermark
doesn’t seem to make much sense musically, as does the confusing blend of the title track. However, the lack of consistency is battled b pleasing power metal excursions such as Khazad-Dum
, one of the few tracks where Tomi’s grunts work well. Inconsistent is really the only way to describe this. High points and low points are mixed into an album with varying degrees of success.
Overall, “boring" isn’t perhaps the best way to describe this. Battlelore is an unusual band in their own right, and seem to fuse elements on the opposite ends of the metal spectrum. They strike some epic and highly melodic moments but bring themselves down by attempting to master the heavier side. Sword’s Song
is perhaps and adequate mixture of the two, but it sounds as though Battlelore has yet to truly find the pinnacle point of their tolerable sound.
- The Mark of the Bear
- Khazad-Dûm (Part II - Silent Caverns)
- Starlight Kingdom
- Good melodic and symphonic combination
- Excellent female singing
- Growling ruins the sound
- Simplistic instrumental work and structures
- Vastly inconsistent