Battlelore Third Age of the Sun

What do you get when you combine brutal riffs and delicate guitar melodies, elf-maiden serenades and the growls of orcs, menacing drums and folk-ish flutes? The third record by Finland’s Tolkien-inspired Battlelore. Though down one founding member and one vocalist, Battlelore have persevered with a slightly revamped line-up, carrying on in the spirit fuelling 2003’s Sword’s Song. Female-led balladry wars with extreme metal on Third Age of the Sun, and the softer storytelling comes out ahead. The evil forces, however, aren’t about to rest peacefully, and Battlelore are often most effective when most bombastic. Tale-spinning and dramatic atmospheres sometimes overwhelm the impact of individual songs, but Battlelore have polished fantasy metal to the gleam of dragon’s gold. (Napalm)