Written by: PP on 04/04/2007 12:15:24

Sometimes a picture says more than a thousand words. Just by looking at the cover of Battlelore's fourth album "Evernight", it is possible to get a feeling what kind of sound the band is thriving for. The picture is presented in shades of grey, with some kind of tribesmen rowing away from the camera lens, with a monumental mountain at the backround consisting of a beautiful landscape. The ugliness of the mountain contrasts the beautifulness and calmness of the picture and water respectively, telling me gothic and folk straight away with a touch of epicness to it all.

My initial guess isn't far off either. While the fusion of gothic, death and folk has been explored time and time again in the last few years, it has never been done this thoroughly and in such an epic manner and certainly not with Tolkien references within it. The atmospheres are absolutely massive without sounding artificial, creating the same kind of epic feel you get while looking at the picturesque cover. Vocalist Kaisa Jouhki's fragile dreamy voice sings "How much.. longer.. can I bear... the pain" filled with sad overtones in "Longing Horizon", a track which can be considered exemplery for the whole genre. She is continuously contrasted by the growling vocals of Tomy Mykkänen, which I liken to the mountain in the picture, as they rage and shatter the atmosphere into pieces, kind of like an opposite of the saying 'calm before the storm'. During his parts, the music takes a turn towards a much more death metallish style, with ravaging bass-lines and an uglier vibe to it all, but this is always transformed into an epic goth atmosphere with hints of folk in it through the integration of synths and large-scale instrumentation.

Kaisa's vocals are dreamy and silky enough to remind you of Theatre Of Tragedy, while the overall instrumentation is somewhat closer to a band like Elis or Within Temptation. She isn't as bombastically operatic as Tarja Turunen (ex-Nightwish), but reaches the high notes anyway and is charismatic and charateristic enough to support the epic atmosphere, which is a very typical display of the Finnish culture overall. Without having heard any of Battlelore's earlier material at all, I still dare say this is their best material to date. I can say this with confidence because while "Evernight" doesn't necessarily reinvent the wheel for gothic/death/folk metal fusion, it does its job damn well and with the kind of epicness rarely seen in the whole genre. Thus, it acts as a kind of a benchmark for at least all Finnish bands exploring this particular genre, and with the right promotion, it could just as well do the same for the international scene. It's a damn solid


Download: Longing Horizon, Ocean's Elysium, Summon The Wolves
For the fans of: Nightwish, Theatre Of Tragedy, Leaves' Eyes, Within Temptation
Listen: Myspace

Release date 26.02.2007
Napalm Records
Provided by Target ApS

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