Battlelore - _Doombound_
(Napalm Records, 2011)
by: Aaron McKay (5 out of 10)
With nearly as many members on stage as a Slipknot show, Finland's Battlelore returns with _Doombound_, scarring their scabbard once more with this most recent release on Napalm Records. For more than a decade, Battlelore currently is attempting to up the tempo of this present mêlée, constructing and executing this, their first concept album. As constant as the Northern Star, this album is still steeped in the Middle Earth themes of a certain Tolkienian expedience as ever before. _Doombound_ follows the journeys of Túrin Turambar, the tragic hero and a Man of the First Age of Middle Earth.

Following up the very passionate appeal of _The Last Alliance_, Battlelore again beseeches the inspirational and trend-setting avant-garde style, this time in the mixing department of one Mr. Dan Swanö. For this go-around, the band opted for sequestering themselves at home in Finland with producer Janne Saksa at Sound Supreme Studios. Unlike previous efforts, _Doombound_ being a the first concept effort notwithstanding, Battlelore strikes a path less fanciful and ethereal, yet somewhat lacking in the conflict-rich textures of the darker _Evernight_ in 2007 or even 2005's _Third Age of the Sun_.

Kaisa Jouhki's opulent feminine vocals aligned opposite Tomi Mykkänen's more gruff, guttural approach again provides the dual lyrical delivery equivalent of a "hobbit versus Balrog" kind of vocal harmonizing. "Iron of Death", "Bow and Helm" and "Men as Wolves" along with the Finnish sung "Karmessurma" provide some of the highlights on Battlelore's newest offering.

Considering Battlelore's more than ten year history of luxuriously woven epic-laden metal soundscapes, _Doombound_ suffers not necessarily in the construct as much as the consequential posture as it relates to their attractively noteworthy back catalog. Thematically, Battlelore path currently through the Shire might substantially benefit from a diversion more toward Fangorn Forest and possibly even extensive exploration of the dwarves' Mines of Moria. A typical effort from a fine Finnish fellowship, but far from Middle Earth shattering.


(article published 15/1/2011)

2/11/2007 J Ulrey 7.5 Battlelore - Evernight
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