Battlelore Evernight

Battlelore’s Evernight sees the band moving even further away from their initial fairly strict translation of Tolkien’s Middle Earth legacy, demonstrating more of their own invention and talent along the way. While the basic premise of this fourth album is much the same — presenting epic fantasy in metal form — Evernight merges literary inspiration, original narrative and musical development more cohesively, allowing the story to fuel but not overwhelm the songwriting. Some tracks reveal this integration more successfully than others but the album has fewer detours and distractions on the whole. In continuous motion, Evernight shifts between speed and power to stately but ominous sections and passages awash in sweeping melodies and airy female vocals — black, death and power metal, folk, classical and even goth constantly striving, occasionally with each other, toward a collective harmony. With all that there’s still an element of restraint to Evernight, intensifying Battlelore’s fierceness when it emerges and hinting at more to come. (Napalm)