Red Silent Tides

1. Dawnmelting
2. The Last Hour
3. Silence De Mort
4. The Cabal
5. Runereader
6. Possession
7. Your Heroes Are Dead
8. Those Days
9. This Nightmare Will Never End
10. What’s Left Of Me
11. The Play Of The Leaves

Damnagoras (V)
Aydan (G)
Rafahel (G)
Gorlan (B)
Elyghen (Kb & Violin)
Zender (D)
Lethien (Violin)

Heathenreel (01)
Wyrd (04)
The Winter Wake (06)
The Scythe (07)
Two Tragedy Poets (...and a Caravan of wierd figures) (08)

Simone D'Eusenio (violin)

Dennis Ward (prod)
Samuel Araya (art)

Released 24/9-2010
Reviewed 27/11-2010


The kings of elves are back and in silence they spit red tides on us to make us reawaken from our winter wakes. The sixth album from Italy's best symphonic metal band, probably.

For me, Elvenking will always come with a special feeling. It's one of the five bands I've followed since they were a demo band and everytime they release an album I always focus some extra attention to them. Not that they are a favourite band, but everytime I see the logo of the Italians I get a bit extra interested - which probably comes from the fact that I've seen them grow forth during the past eleven years. 'Red Silent Tides' is, as I said, the sixth album of the Italians and even if the last album was a big step forward compared to a few, at least according to me, years with doubtful releases I had very low expectations/hopes on this album. I actually had missed this release completely until the album was there to be reviewed, so to think I would get disappointed feels a bit far fetched. But...

For some reason I feel disappointed by 'Red Silent Tides' anyway. Not because the album sounds different to what I had wished or hoped for, because I don't have such thoughts about bands anymore. No, the reason to why I feel disappointed is simply because this feel way too simple to be Elvenking. This albums contains more or less straight heavy metal without great ideas or something special that makes them radically different from anything else in the metal genre. Sure, they have some folk music in it this time as well, spiced up with instruments that normally keeps out of the metal genre and it also have some sense of campfire group vocals in it. But it's not that I refer to when I say it's simple. What I mean is that the songs are structured like normal... well, songs. And the music sounds just like... music. And I guess what I'm trying to say is that this album could almost have been made by any band. Even the albums that I had some difficulties with between the debut and the last one had elements that made them unique. They had strange instruments like violins, flutes and other rattle but also strange variations in the rhythm and melodies. They were far from the melodies in pop music where you only need to hear two tones to be able to hum the entire song because Elvenking has always been more curvy than the S-curves on the Suzuka track. This time? Well, here and there it's possible to hint it but most of the time it's as straight as an arrow and then it doesn't matter if you have some folk tunes and violins because a shark painted as a tuna is still a fucking shark - it doesn't become a sheep only because it swims in shoals.

And there's where we find Elvenking. They are a shark so why are they trying to make shoal music? A shark is almost as good at being a tuna as a fish head is good at playing the piano. I do understand the idea of Elvenking - they want to widen their audience and not just attract shark-people with violin fetishes, but instead of making good music with a distinct identity they've now made an album that's so-so with no identity at all. The most interesting element is without doubt the cover and if I have to pick a favourite song it would be the introducing song called Dawnmelting, even if I rather would chose to not pick anyone. It's like chewing gum, a glass of water or container full of tv-dinner. It taste nothing and even if it's not bad it's still ridiculously uninteresting. If Elvenking want to be just a ordinary hard rock band I can gratulate them because then they've succeeded, but since most (ordinary) hard rock bands are totally uninteresting it's a stupid target to aim for, at least according to me.

'Red Silent Tides' has some violins, some power metal and castrato vocals and not too speedy tempo most of the time (even if this is power metal and therefore by automatic not slow of course). What's negative are the predictable melodies boring song structures and generally lacks fantasy. Once again I say this: It's not bad, it's not that you painfully force yourself through the album. But it's not interesting. It's just a decent metal album and nothing more. Any band could have done it, it doesn't become special simply because they use a violin.

So, the conclusion is: If you want ordinary hard rock with some usage of folk influences and without any demands from your side on something unique and immortal - then you have a good metal album here. But to reach the higher grades you need some more creativity. I personally like Elvenking best when they play the kind of music coming naturally to them and honestly this doesn't feel natural. If feels as something they want to do, but at the same time it feels forced upon them (by them selves) and to me it sounds like they throw away all their talent at something mediocre. The sentence from me stays green, but if it continues like this it's only a matter of time before the red silent tides hits them.


Label - AFM Records
Three similar bands - Skyclad/Rhapsody/Dark Moor
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm