Elvenking have enjoyed a bit of a renaissance this decade. Earning a sustained run on AFM Records and navigating troubled waters in a sea of questionable releases in the mid-‘00s, this Italian folk/power metal act has righted the ship with their last two albums, 2014’s The Pagan Manifesto and 2017’s Secrets of the Magick Grimoire. Their newest platter, Reader of the Runes – Divination, dives deep with a story that journeys “into a mystic world of runes, magic and ancient powers far away from the visible.”
This should come as no surprise as the band has always dealt with pagan and Celtic influences and incorporating a full blown story about it seemed like a route they would eventually take. Except this is no one-time occurrence; Divination is only the first chapter of this story and is intended to continue on future releases. If the music keeps on coming this strong from them, then I’m all for it. Divination could go down as thee defining moment of their career.
The power metal infused with Celtic and folk melodies and rituals are all there to be heard, but it’s constructed in a captivating and memorable manner that it yearns for repeated listens. Some of the band’s strongest material to date can be heard such as the ethereal and beautifully crafted “Eternal Eleanor” and the wonderfully catchy pirate stomping of “Sic Semper Tyrannis.”
Full blown power metal romps endure with the violin adorned “Divination” and the acoustic began “Heathen Divine,” featuring a magnetic chorus and inspired guitar work from Rafahel. “The Misfortune Of Virtue” holds some enchanting tempo changes, all being held together by a strong melody.
Inspiration, that’s the most important aspect of Divination. These boys sound incredibly refreshed and the concept surrounding this story clearly injected some added motivation to make this a special record. “Silverseal” encompasses the strength of that inspiration with a swaying rhythm and vocal melody that will certainly be a hit during live shows. While the last track, “Reader Of The Runes – Book I” runs longer than it should; I can appreciate the effort put forth an epic vibe into the track, although it wasn’t needed.
This is undoubtedly one of the best albums of 2019 and power metal fans should be encouraged to seek this out. Incredible job by Elvenking on Divination.
(released August 30, 2019 on AFM Records)
Heavy Music Headquarters Rating:
Watch Elvenking – “Silverseal” Video