Battlelore
Third Age of the Sun

When I read that Moredhel, long time Horna guitarist, with the help of Horna drummer Gorthaur, was forming a Tolkien inspired band there was no way I wasn’t going to check it out so I bought the debut album expecting possibly early Summoning, and it was immediately obvious this was not going to be a black metal project. This is folk fantasy metal or pagan folk depending on whether Tolkien was successful in articulating a mythology or simply presenting a fantasy story. I enjoyed the debut enough to get the next one but really did not listen to them all that much.

Here I have the promo copy of their third release, Third Age of the Sun, and the first obvious difference is no Nasmith cover art. Beyond the superficial there are a few new band members including a new vocalist. The main vocals are death styled once again and new vocalist Tomi Mykkänen is a bit better than Patrik, who was better at the clean style than the rough style. The growled vocals are still the weak point however, with not much range to them. The highlight once again is Kaisa. Her singing has improved dramatically over the last few years, same great voice with better control and range. There is no doubt she should get the leads and the male vocals should be relegated to background status.

With a female keyboardist featured prominently, the gothic tag will get thrown about but that is not really an accurate assessment. While not stellar, the keyboards are incorporated well and frequently step to the foreground with nice flourishes. Definitely not in the style of Summoning. Jyri (Moredhel) has seven years with Horna to draw from and this experience does show through, but happy music is just as much at home here as aggressive intense ‘evil’ music. Each song is carefully crafted and easily distinguishable. I will concede that even from the perspective of orthodox black metal this group of elves and goblins have got true talent.

“Trollshaws” reminds me of older Einherjer. The folk melodies chosen are excellent and the music written around them highlight them instead of bury them. Overall the music is mellow but intensity is reached when needed. Kaisa does an amazing job on the really mellow passages like “Elves of Luva” and gets the job done during the harsh moments as well. In “Valier- Queens of the Valar” the growled vocals are a distraction while in “Storm of the Blades” they are a good addition. “Cloaked in Her Unlight” makes good use of the dual vocalists singing together. “Touch of Green and Gold” has some god riffs and is a bit heavier. The final track does nothing for me. If Jyri could get ex Horna mate Nazgul aka Satanic Tyrant Werwolf to guest as Gollum then we would have a song to praise. “Storm of the Blades” is my choice for second best song with good harsh and spoken vocals and cool melodies. It is an excellent powerful song. “Trollshaws” is my favorite, cool drum intro, suitably epic opening, and an actual duet again.

Many improvements over past efforts and worth checking out. This album should stand up well to the test of time. For the first time they have got me looking forward to the next one.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Grimulfr
July 20th, 2005

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