Elvenking

Two Tragedy Poets (...And a Caravan of Weird Figures)

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Italy's Elvenking haven't been afraid to try different things on different albums. Their 2006 release Winter's Wake is best described as power metal/progressive metal with a strong folk influence, but their 2008 recording Two Tragic Poets and a Caravan of Weird Figures offers an unlikely mixture of folk metal and pop-metal. The interesting thing is that this CD finds Elvenking using more acoustic instruments on the one hand, but being more pop-minded on the other hand. How pop-minded? The album even includes a cover of Belinda Carlisle's "Heaven Is a Place on Earth," which receives a very Bon Jovi-influenced makeover -- and the tune works enjoyably well as pop-metal. Bon Jovi is not only an influence on the Carlisle cover, but on much of the original material as well. Of course, one rarely hears the name Bon Jovi used in connection with a folk metal disc, but darned if Two Tragic Poets and a Caravan of Weird Figures doesn't manage to be influenced by Bon Jovi and folk metal at the same time. It's an intriguing combination, although some of the headbangers who enjoyed Winter's Wake will no doubt lament the fact that Two Tragic Poets and a Caravan of Weird Figures doesn't rock as hard. When Elvenking increased both the acoustic factor and the pop factor, they decreased the power metal factor; that doesn't mean that this isn't a worthwhile album, but it's definitely a less aggressive and less metallic album than Winter's Wake. Nonetheless, Two Tragic Poets and a Caravan of Weird Figures is an agreeable listen if one doesn't consider himself/herself a metal purist.

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