Elvenpath's 2008 release "Spyrol" left me nonplussed and overwhelmingly unimpressed. So thus far this year, I've put off looking into their newest effort. However, after the opening track "For Our Liberty" came up on shuffle at one point, my interest was piqued and I decided it was time for a second chance for this as-yet unsigned German heavy/power act. Despite the cliché-drenched name, Elvenpath don't necessarily adhere to the ultra light and fluffy power metal that one would expect (though now that I think of it, other bands utilizing both Elven- and -path have avoided such categorizations as well), but rather a hefty emphasis on guitars and moderate tempos.
And let me tell you something: the guitar riffs are heftier and more accomplished this time around indeed. While past efforts haven't been lackluster per se, the band really opens the floodgates on their eponymous release with some great intros and lead riffs, putting much of what they've recorded previously to shame. Also displaying a considerable improvement are the vocals, with Dragutin Kremenovic (phew, say THAT five times fast) providing a showing that is rather excellent. He changes gears quickly and decisively between a rough, snarling yell and a very good piercing scream, along with everything in between.
As "For Our Liberty" was an ear-snagging piece of power metal that dragged me to this album, so it stands as one of the best songs that this album has to offer. However, the quality by no means ends there, as I was rather hooked from the beginning until the somewhat redundant introduction to "Moria". However, "Enflaming Demands", "Into The Future", and "Cellars Of Doom" (the latter reminding me a bit of something Falconer would write) slam home the band's message that they mean business, and bring the guitars to bear in full force. Before the album is even half over, you're guaranteed to have two clenched fists raised high in the air. This attitude is completely supported by the sound clip at the beginning of "Guardians Of The Underground", proclaiming metal as a passion, a will, and an underground way of life.
Then, after the first half of the album comes to a close, the second half begins, with interchanging sections of "Metal Suite" (basically just repeated sounds of battle) combined with the three songs of "The Truelogy". Though cheesy, completely unoriginal, and utterly shameless, this blatant Manowar-worship is still worth a listen through (though "War Of Steel" is the only one worth repeating), but ultimately unnecessary. Unfortunately, this needlessly long and redundant second half holds back the album as a whole from really helping the band break out. To Elvenpath: we all love metal, but what you've done here has been done a hundred times before and pretty much goes without saying. Stick with what you're so obviously good at.
Despite the dragging of the latter part of this work, I suggest finding yourself a copy of this album if you're at all into heavy or power metal, as the first half in particular will satisfy any number of palettes. Heck, buy it and only rip or listen to the first half if you must, but buy it all the same. Elvenpath, if they can continue to muster the kind of power and passion that they have begun to actualize here, will be a band to be talked about.
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The Protagonist's Rating: 3.5 out of 5