Elmsfire – Thieves Of The Sun
Thieves of the Sun
You may think because I mostly write about female fronted bands that I am a one trick pony. Well, I am not! Counted among my favourite bands are such male fronted acts like Sonata Arctica, Tarot, and Sabaton. You should know that I’m not a fan of growling vocals, except in strict moderation, but good clean male vocals tickle me silly. And just a matter of days ago, a new band to me, male fronted, showed up in my promo list from Massacre Records and I decided to give them a shot – and I am so glad. Elmsfire, hailing from Germany, is a brilliant new power metal find for me, clean vocals and all.
Thieves of the Sun is due for release February 24 and it’s Elmsfire’s first full-length CD. Their other release, Horizons, came out in 2005 as a five-track EP. Some of those songs are available for download on the band’s Last.fm page. As for what’s gone on with the band between that release and now, not much is available, though you can see on their YouTube channel that they’ve had some live festival performances and have been in rehearsals for TOTS for some time. Whatever the case, this album seems to have been a long time in coming, and I can tell you that I think it’s a real gem and very much worth checking out.
The intro to the CD is a narration done by a voice that sounds strikingly similar to that of Sean Connery. I don’t if it’s an excerpt from a larger work of an original by the band, but it makes references to Greeks, Romans, Corinthians, so you know that we are taking a journey back to the mythological edges of history. Jumping out from the gates at a great gallop, the first song, “Worth a Tale” is a bombastic, anthemic piece with a great hook and epic lyrics. The chorus is great:
In the face of death!
On two broken legs!
There is always a chance!
With a rope around my neck!
Lying on my deathbed!
I’m here…nothing I regret!
There are similar lyrical themes throughout the album: victory and courage in the face of death and destruction, overcoming the odds, and bravery throughout great trials. They are all very positive lyrics, which was a nice change for me & my usual sorrow-inspired fare.
The first two tracks are definitely Greek heroism-inspired, but what really impressed me about TOTS was that the band explores some other epic mythologies as well. For instance, “Ahab”, which starts off with a section of Moby Dick being narrated (not by the same guy who did the intro), is about that story, and with the song “Taipouri” Elmsfire explores something you don’t hear about every day in metal – Polynesian mythology. That impressed me.
Musically, I loved this CD. Great riffing, great guitar solos, fast and dramatic compositions, and lots of powerful drumming. The other thing I must mention is the voice of lead vocalist, Erdmann (I can’t find any last names). He’s great! He has a lot of versatility to his style, too; he can sound mellow, he can sound gruff, he can sound aggressive. His vox is as highlight of this album.
Standout songs for me on TOTS were the aforementioned “Worth a Tale”, “Stormchild”, which starts out nice and soft with a pretty guitar melody, then quickly becomes bombastic, and the final song, “Thieves of the Sun,” which is catchy and has what comes to be a hallmark of Elmsfire’s sound, a chorus with some shouted backing vocals that create a dramatic effect. It’s a strong finale to a very strong album.
Judging from YouTube, Elmsfire looks pretty good live, too. I hope this new record deal gets them some big name gigs and a lot of positive attention.
Oh, and one other small detail: they appear to have a female guitarist, Doro! Rock on!
Allyson’s rating: 4.5 out of 5