Release DetailsLABEL Napalm Records
RELEASED ON 8/30/2005
Third Age of the Sun
posted on 9/2005 By:
Though Finland’s Battlelore are hardly ever granted a spot in my personal playlists, they’ve somehow managed to command my curiosity with each successive release. Ever since the bands 2002 debut album …Where The Shadows Lie, I have been patiently perched on the figurative fence, never actually having a reasonable motivation for teetering to one side or the other. While their follow-up disc Sword’s Song presented a few noteworthy tracks, it still didn’t have enough of a positive or negative affect on me to really draw any firm conclusions. With their latest effort Third Age Of The Sun, the winds that had kept me pleasantly poised and unbiased in regards to my opinions of the septet have strongly shifted and knocked me clean into the neighbor’s backyard. Though I’m a bit dizzied from the fall, I believe I’m finally prepared to close this long running case and deliver my final ruling on the band.
As with their previous releases, Third Age Of The Sun exhibits a certain degree of Tolkien themed epicness, however, it sounds as if Battlelore have shed a great deal of that battle/folk metal influence this time around and went for more of a straightforward female fronted goth metal slant. The delicately beautiful voice of Kaisa Jouhki stands as the highlight of the album, just as it has in the past. With her sensual and serene tones dominantly resonating within tracks like “Valier - Queens Of The Valar”, “Gwaith-I-Mírdain“, and “Elves Of Lúva”, I start to feel like Third Age Of The Sun would have been a much stronger effort if she were the only voice in the band. New male vocalist Tomi Mykkänen’s harsh verses are nothing to write home about, and more often than not, his parts send the song into a speedy descent towards mediocrity. Since his vocals are only effective in small doses, I would propose that in the future he only be used to accent a few of the heavier moments. He’s not necessarily terrible, but he isn’t quite good enough to warrant his presence on as many tracks as he is featured on.
While Third Age Of The Sun boasts a moderately enjoyable listen, the band have carelessly tossed aside one of the few characteristics that made them even somewhat discernable from the vast sea of other acts that are currently working the exact same angle, only better. There really is no room in this genre for more bland power chord driven music without personality, and that is pretty much what Battlelore have brought to the table with their third substandard outing. When it comes to Napalm Records artists that perform similar styles, I’d suggest Midnattsol, Summoning, Trail Of Tears, Elis, and Tristania above Battlelore. As for concept music inspired by the Middle Earth saga of The Lord Of The Rings, I am perfectly content with Blind Guardian and Summoning being the only bands that can justly pull it off.
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