Sound: In The Winter Wake there is the Mark III of the band, which will be permanent: the return of Damna on the vocals instead of Kleid who make the vocals on the previous album WYRD, Aydan on the guitar, Elyghen on the violin and keyboards, Gorlan on bass guitar and Zender on the drums, and the departure of Jarpen on guitarist, this is quite sad, because Jarpen is a talented guitarist, need only recall the solo in The Conjuring of 14th in Heathenreel album. The band, with the return of Damna, wanted to make the best album that had never done, stirring to album their biggest musical influences (Power Metal, Folk Metal, Ballad), in the best possible way, accompanied by fabulous texts written by Damna and Aydan. The sound of The Winter Wake is certainly better than WYRD, but still not up to the first album Heathenreel, as a whole is perhaps better than Heathenreel, as is structured, but there are no monumental songs as White Willow or Seasons Speech, however, The Winter Wake remains one of the best metal album of recent years, partly because of songs so poetic, epic and fantastic there aren't in the current metal-landscape. For the realization of The Winter Wake, and then to create his epic sounds, the band has appealed to the usual guests, who have a job rather than good, as the vocals of Laura De Luca (Vocalist of the gothic metal band Tystnaden ) on the song On the Morning Dew simply awesome; the vocals of Schmier (of Destruction) on The Winter Wake song; The 2nd solo on "Trows Kind by Nino Laurenne (of Thunderstone); the soprano vocals on "March of Fools" and "Disillusion's Reel" by Pauline Tacey; the fairy voice on "Trows Kind" by Isabella "Whisperwind" Tuni; the awesome flutes by Umberto Corazza and the well-known The String Quartet (arranged by Elyghen): Eleonora Steffan - violin, Attilio Zardini - violin, Elyghen - viola, Marco Balbinot - cello that we have already accompanied wonderfully in WYRD. This album, on the contrary of the WYRD, expresses perfectly all the skills of Italian band, showing beautiful Folk songs, good acoustic songs and excellent Power Metal songs, and songs that mix all in only one, then the album sounds very varied and never repetitive. The Winter Wake shows that the Elvenking is reborn and is in good shape. // 9
Lyrics: The lyrics of each song of The Winter Wake narrate fantasy stories (already famous as the Pied Piper in "Rats Are The following", or completely invented by the band), which hide within them moral and social meanings, pleasant or unpleasant situations of daily life and interpersonal relationships or the criticism of today's society, in its various aspects, sending us through these messages and advices; obviously all situations and emotions tried by band on their skin. All texts have a extraordinary musicality and manage to evoke the full situations and messages that the band wants transmit to us. Another big test for Elvenking who manage to stir wisely, fantastic epic melodies and lyrics with equally epic fantastici and, without ever fall in level during the album, something very rare nowadays. // 9
Overall Impression: As I said before, this is the first album after the return of Damna, and this is really felt, because Damna together with Aydan and Jarpen (which in this album is not present), are the true soul of the Elvenking. In fact compared to "WYRD", which in my opinion amounted to a step forward for the entry of Elyghen in the band, but a huge step backwards with the lack of Damna, "The Winter Wake" manages to almost completely restore the magic of "Heathenreel". I said "almost completely" because I did not find epic songs like "White Willow" or "The Conjuring of the 14th" or "Seasonspeech", however, the album contains beautiful songs, ranging from Folk ballads like "On The Morning Dew "Power Metal songs like" Devils Carriage. " Now I will analyze one by one the songs of this album, to express what I love and what hatred of this album:
01. Trows Kind - beginning very "power" with an aftertaste "folk", a song really well structured, very incisive.
02. Swallotail - one of the songs with the most beautiful and significant lyrics, with regard to the sound, similar to previous song, a song power / folk.
03. The Winter Wake - another beautiful song power / folk with an exceptional lyrics, which makes you immerse in fantasy atmosphere of the album.
04. The Wanderer - in "The Wanderer" goes to the folk / fantasy. One of the cornerstones of the album. Simply awesome.
05. The March Of The Fools - like the previous song, this is very folk / fantasy. It contains one of the most beautiful and indelible solos of the band.
06. On The Morning Dew - in this song we reach the first peak folk / fantasy of the album. Song totally acoustic, of great effect and the unforgettable atmosphere.
07. Devil's Carriage - after the previous ballad folk, returns to power. Riff breathtaking and unforgettable.
08. Rats Are Following - perhaps the first song the band directed against people who make commercial music, and against people who hear this kind of music. Always with the genius of Elvenking, which tells this sad reality through the fable of "Pied Piper". Awesome!
09. Rouse Your Dream - this song is everything, piano intro, fantasy atmosphere, great Lyrics, and one of the best riff ever made by Aydan. What else to say.
10. Neverending Nights - along with "On The Morning Dew" is the masterpiece of the band, beautiful sound dark / folk, but the real strength of the song is the lyrics written by Damna, which is one of the most beautiful lyrics that I have ever read
11. Disillusions Reel - excellent folk ballad to close a masterpiece, both for the sound that for the lyrics.
In my opinion, "The Winter Wake" is slightly lower "Heathenreel", but certainly better than "WYRD", so consecrate with this album, the return of the old Elvenking. // 9