Red Silent Tides

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For a band that started its career geeking out harder than a Lord of the Rings convention, Italy's Elvenking certainly have evolved over the years, so much so that that the folk/power metal sextet's sixth studio album, 2010's Red Silent Tides, sees them appealing to the most mythical creature known to pimply-faced Dungeons & Dragons players everywhere. Yes, this one's for the ladies…well, mostly, as you'll immediately ascertain by the romantic lyrics, melodic hooks, and altogether safe arrangements pervading tracks like "Dawnmelting," "The Last Hour," "What's Left of Me," and the quasi-ballad "Possession" (not to mention the CD booklet's plentiful images of come-hither eyeliner glares courtesy of the Casanovas behind it all). Not that there's anything wrong with this development, because these songs are so meticulously assembled and, in the case of "The Cabal" and "This Nightmare Will Never End," weave their love letters in such surprisingly evocative, dare we say, even elliptical prose, as to virtually ensure that any wannabe groupies will respect Elvenking's minds, as well as their looks. All kidding aside, Red Silent Tides also makes room for a few more instrumentally complex, semi-progressive numbers like "Silence de Mort" and "The Play of the Leaves," as well as the odd folk-infused "troo" power metal pounder like "Runereader" and "Your Heroes Are Dead" -- all of which revert to the mystical subjects more familiar to Elvenking's original fan contingent. As a whole, the entire song set still sounds rather mismatched with the group's moniker, but false advertising notwithstanding, this is an extremely well-crafted collection of melodic power metal with prog/folk/gothic benefits. Heck, and some people may even get laid in the bargain!

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