I am one for a good tale or two that is for sure, and with this album, when first approaching it, it reads as though it is going to be a great whirlwind of an album. The length of some of the songs, with five of the songs going over the 7-minute mark, makes me look forward to hearing what Evertale has done in regards to their music. The title itself – ‘Of Dragons and Elves’, is what makes this more of an intrigue.
This may be because currently I am on more of a pagan / folk / power metal course with my taste, but when you find some stellar music, especially finding bands that can possibly give the likes of Symphony X and Iron Maiden a run for their money in terms of lyrical content, is quite exciting.
With ‘In The Sign Of The Valiant Warrior’ you get an almost Dio – ‘Holy Diver’ like feel from the intro, going into a more modern, what I could say as Dragonforce sound. This is not a bad thing, as they have been able to play this sound to their own.
The first of the long songs, ‘Tale of the Everman’, clocking in at a little over nine minutes long, and the longest song on the album, is exactly what you would expect for a power metal type track. Despite its length, it actually is able to keep you intrigued right until the end of the song. The following track ‘Into The Dragon’s Lair’, is much faster paced, but equally keeps the flow of the album.
The title track really is the one that tells you what the album is like, and it is no exception here. It starts off mellower going into a crescendo of a sound, keeping in line with what was heard earlier in the album, it is totally worth the listen. The vocals are something I would love to commend in this, they are predominantly clean vocals, and are so beautifully done it is surreal. Pair that with the music, which is equally as good, you get something that is actually quite relaxing to listen to.
‘Elventwighlight’, the follow on from the title track, takes me back to the Symphony X comment I made earlier, with the sound of the song being nothing less than what I would expect from that band. The vocals within this album thus far shows the skills of the lead vocalist, Matthias, going from the clean vocals to these, slightly more aggressive sounding vocals, but still hold the clarity that you would expect from them.
‘Tarsis Falls’ follows on where ‘Elventwighlight’ leads. Alongside this, there was possibly the first majorly noticeable guitar solo from within the album, but by the same token, the solos are well thought out and well placed within the song. (and I can hardly make the SNL “More Cowbell” comment!)
The guitar work throughout the album is actually very good, and with the comment made previously on the quality of the solos within the album, they have been able to introduce some very refreshing sounds into what could be a totally generic genre, which can be a very difficult task to do when there is so much of it out there to be discovered. Another thing to note with the guitars is the strength of the tone, which remains the same throughout, and gives it the edges where it needs them.
The final comments that I want to end this on, which is unfortunate, given how much I have enjoyed listening to this album, is that there are certain sections of songs, that seem to sound a little generic and fade into the background. I know that this is something that cannot always be helped, and there will probably be people who disagree with what I have said, but it should be remembered that this is what I think of the album.
The last comment that should be noted (and it always seems that I say this!) is that the mixing seems off, although, it seems to be affecting more the drums, where some of the drums are heard more than the others, which get drowned out by the guitars. The bass has the volume level that is appropriate, even if it does drop off the end slightly.
This album started off so well, and strongly, but because of the points that I previously mentioned, I began to lose interest before the final two songs, and might partially be my fault. Even though I did muse at the length of some of the songs on this album, and that I can totally understand why bands like to break the time limit on song length, it equally needs to be considered that not everyone will sit and listen to something as long as 7 minutes all of the time.
Overall: Strong start, good musicianship and writing skills, shame some parts were generic and started merging with the background.