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Elvenking

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Biography

A genre-juggling Italian group that incorporates elements of progressive, power, and symphonic metal into their rousing blend of traditional folk and blazing hard rock, Elvenking's mystic melodies and tankard-hoisting singalongs invoke power metal greats like Helloween, Skyclad, and Blind Guardian. Since emerging in 2001, the band has released a string of inventive and well-received pagan folk-metal LPs, with the occasional foray into narrative-driven prog rock (2007's The Scythe) and straight up acoustic folk (2008's Two Tragedy Poets [...And a Caravan of Weird Figures]). Founded in 1997 by guitarists Aydan and Jarpen, the band coalesced into a quartet the following year with arrivals of Damna (vocals) and Zender (drums). A demo was recorded shortly thereafter, and fell into the hands of German label AFM, which quickly signed the fledgling group. 2001 heralded the arrival of bassist Gorlan, who made his studio debut on the band's debut long-player Heathenreel. The following year saw the departure of Damna, and the additions of vocalist Kleid and violin/keyboard player Elyghen to the fold. In 2004 the band issued their sophomore full-length, Wyrd, which was inspired by the book The Way of Wyrd: Tales of an Anglo-Saxon Sorcerer by English author Brian Bates. Multiple lineup changes occurred before the release of the band's next album, 2006's Winter's Wake, with both Kleid and founding guitarist Jarpen departing. This period did, however, mark the return of original vocalist Damna, who would go on to become the band's longest-tenured frontman. In 2007, the group released what would be their most successful outing to date, The Scythe, an acclaimed concept album that saw the group exploring darker, more muscular territory in the vein of contemporaries like In Flames and Blind Guardian. Elvenking went back to their folk roots for 2008's primarily acoustic Two Tragedy Poets (...And a Caravan of Weird Figures), but cranked things back up to 11 on 2010's power metal-propelled Red Silent Tides, which marked the debuts of new guitarist Rafahel and violin player Lethien. After a lengthy bout of touring, the band was joined by new drummer Symohn, who made his studio debut on 2012's well-received Era. 2014 saw the release of Pagan Manifesto, their eighth studio long-player, and in 2016, Elvenking issued their very first concert LP, Night of Nights: Live. Their ninth LP, Secrets of the Magick Grimoire, arrived in late 2017. ~ James Christopher Monger
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