The Last Alliance

Written by: PP on 11/11/2008 14:26:33

Already on their previous album "Evernight", Finnish fantasy metallers Battlelore demonstrated their capability of playing ball with the best in the genre. I know what you're thinking, "epic fantasy metal, that genre is basically goth-metal with fantasy themes", and to an extent you're right. But few goth bands are able to deliver the genre with such awesome conviction and solid soundscapes as Battlelore. "The Last Alliance" is a testament to that statement.

Instead of trying to overdo their colossal soundscapes like pretty much every other band on the genre, Battlelore are contempt at staying a little less 'epic' and 'monumental' for the sake of keeping their music relatively tightly wound together. The riffs are consistently solid and interesting throughout, though it's difficult to point a finger at a single riff that'd be more brilliant than the others. But that isn't important for Battlelore, because "The Last Alliance" has a great flow, making the album an easy and enjoyable listen from start to finish.

There's enough variation to keep the whole soundscape interesting. For instance, female vocalist Kaisa Jouhi sings at high pitch, but she isn't overdoing it like the Theatre Of Tragedy singer does. Her voice is smooth, but still powerful, and when contrasted with the melodic growls of Tomi Mykkänen in the vein of the Dark Tranquillity vocalist, they both complement each other nicely. Similarly, some of the songs are monumental in size, depicting the entirety of Middle Earth (the band's song are all based on J.R.R. Tolkien's stories) both lyrically and soundwise, while others are more down-to-earth folk-infused ballads (see "Guardians", for instance), again giving contrast to the band's sound. There's even some brutal death metal this time around, just check out the serpentine riffs in "Voice Of The Fallen".

In short, the songs on "The Last Alliance" are damn convincing, and among the best gothic metal around, even if there's fewer memorable moments than on "Evernight". If you think female-fronted bands bore you, then Battlelore should be able to tell you otherwise, even if you're not normally a fan of the genre.


Download: Guardians, Third Immortal
For the fans of: Within Temptation, Nightwish, Amberian Dawn
Listen: Myspace

Release date 26.09.2008
Napalm Records

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