Published on September 2nd, 2019 | by Justin G.
Elvenking: Reader Of The Runes – Divination (AFM, 2019)
Italian folk/power metal band Elvenking returns (presumably from an enchanted wood) with a new album, titled Reader Of The Runes – Divination. It’s Elvenking’s tenth studio album, and according to the band it’s the start of a multi-album epic fantasy saga with recurring characters and themes. Given the band’s obvious appreciation for all things pagan and folklore, as well as their uncanny ability to bring together grand themes and catchy folk melodies, this could be the start of something very memorable.
In terms of overall tone and style, Reader Of The Runes – Divination is a nice mix of the band’s previous two albums. It has the catchiness and straightforward power metal energy of 2014’s The Pagan Manifesto with just the right amount of symphonic touches that 2017’s Secret Of The Magick Grimiore had. Actually, they probably could have dialed the symphonic side up a bit given the epic nature of the story. Still, the sound works and is vintage Elvenking, with Damna’s signature vocals and the brilliant interplay of Aydan’s guitars (and keys) and Lethien’s violins.
No one is better than Elvenking at bringing power metal and folk metal together, and they do it very well here. “Heathen Divine” recalls the Heathenreel days, and “Silverseal” and “Malefica Doctrine” are fantastically infectious as well. The album’s brightest star is the 10-minute epic “Reader Of The Runes Book I,” which really hammers home the scope and ambition of this album (and series of albums if we’re lucky).
Elvenking’s last few albums have more than captured the greatness of their early works, and Reader Of The Runes – Divination extends that streak. There’s really no way any serious Elvenking fan won’t love this one, and since it’s the start of something big, it makes for a good “gateway drug” for newcomers. Fans of Faloner and Orden Ogan in particular ought to give this album a chance.
Summary: A new saga begins...