Battlelore Where the Shadows Lie

If only Tolkien had known he would inspire whole brigades of metal bands with his novels. Battlelore is one of the latest Lord of the Rings-inspired bands, offering what they call "true arctic fantasy metal” on their debut album, Where the Shadows Lie. This is a fairly diverse CD, not surprising for a band with seven members and two guest musicians. Epic death metal dominates the album, but the tone changes along with the tapestry of sounds as the story unfolds. Renaissance-inspired female singing, acoustic and classical guitars, and clean male vocals all enrich and play off the band’s heavy edge. Halfway through, Battlelore strikes you with a sparse and eerie march into the shadows called "Shadowgate.” Then after another few rounds of epic metal, Where the Shadows Lie dies off with the folk-ish and Elfin celebration at the tail end of "Ride with the Dragons.” Battlelore holds the widely varied elements of their music together extremely well, and that makes for one interesting musical journey. (Napalm)