10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
All the way from Lappeenranta, Finland come Battlelore with their fifth album, "The Last Alliance". If I tell you that the ply their trade in epic, fantasy, symphonic / power metal, you won't be surprised to learn that their latest album is based on storylines from J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth. So far, so stereotypical. If I were to add in that they also do the whole clean female vocals / male growls thing, you may well be looking over your shoulder for something more interesting to distract you. But don't go just yet.
For sure, there is absolutely nothing original in what Battlelore are doing, but does it really matter when it's so damned enjoyable? Sometimes you just need to go with the flow, position your foot on an imaginary monitor, and let it rip. And that's exactly what you get here.
I actually recall early Battlelore being a bit rubbish, so never kept up with them, but turns out that their last album "Evernight" was a big step forward for them in songs, performance and production. Because this album certainly rocks. The twin vocals of Kaisa Jouhki and Tommi Mykkanen work well, playing off each other well, and the added symphonic keyboard touches are very well done. Add in a BIG production sound, and you end up with some truly epic tunes like 'Exile The Daystar', 'The Great Gathering' and 'Voice Of The Fallen' to soundtrack your next role playing evening.
Overall, this is an excellent album, chock full of the best elements of symphonic / power metal. Miss out at your peril.
on 9 February 2014
I bought this (cd + dvd format) when released over 5 years ago. Prior to this, I admired what Battlelore were doing, although felt there was always something missing from their finished product. I promise to re-visit those earlier albums. Surely a band who produced a song so well-crafted as Storm of The Blades from their Third Age of The Sun album were doing something right. Also, I tread warily where anything that could be detrimental to the work of Tolkien is concerned, as his work was without comparison and dare I say it, world-changing.
The Last Alliance is helped by powerful and thoughtful production with all the musicians and singers portrayed giving great performances, the drums especially being a stand-out.
Being an old guy, I still think of albums in two halves. For me, side two (tracks 7 to 11) is Battlelore's finest, even better than the excellent Doombound album which followed. Epic Dreams is a song that I rate in the top 10 of my all-time favourite in the broad metal genre. Its only fault is its length. It could easily have stretched to another couple of minutes, perhaps including, Gandalf-forbid, a guitar solo. Green Dragon is a hoot.
Tomi Mykkanen is a very strong and versatile vocalist (somewhere between Chrigel Glanzmann of Eluveitie and Ronny Thorsen of Trail of Tears) whose voice is integral in the strength of this album.
This album is bright, punchy, heavy-ish guitars, great drumming and with two lovely chicks doing so much of the work, there is nothing more I can say other than I love it now as much as then. The bonus dvd is entertaining, quite long and well worth having.
I understand Battlelore are taking a break. I hope they get together again soon and give us more of this.