ELWING, War  (2005, Black Lotus)

The skull:
Assuming that this one-eyed skull is looking at a scene of war, he looks blank and unimpressed. The artwork is all scratchy and organic-ish, just some fun with Photoshop to help dress up an otherwise drab cover idea. Mission not accomplished. There are a whole subset of skull covers out there featuring one-eyed skulls, and this is one of the least remarkable. Just another band that’s got nothin’ in the way of cover ideas. (Their first album featured artwork depicting a helmeted, shielded, and sworded warrior standing atop a pile of skulls. Also none too original.)

The music:
Whole lotta gallop goin’ on, and quite a few Celtic/folk flavored rhythms and melodies. This Greek metal band worships at the altar of Blind Guardian and other such fantasy-laden, epic sorts of power metal bands. If you have any recollection at all of the Greek band Nemesis (I don’t), one of their members ended up in Elwing, and he brings their “Lost Humanity” song with him, which appears on this album. Highlight tracks? They’re all kind of similar in quality and structure. The vocals are mid-ranged and decent enough, and when he goes high he sounds strained. Or with tons of effects piled on. He’s gruff and forceful enough and has an okay range. Musically it’s solid and tight, nothing to sniff at, and the whole band perform with an earnestness that at least makes you appreciate their conviction. But Elwing isn’t offering anything that other, better bands haven’t, so there you go. Elwing gave it their best shot in the early and mid 2000s and died a pretty quick death. A casualty of the power metal war…
— Friar Wagner

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