03 March 2012

Battlelore - Metal sounds of Middle-earth

 “Horse lords of the men of Rohan, Allies of Gondor the land below, Green fields they guard with honour, Eastern terror, keep away!”... and “Guidance shown by the stars, The way whispered by the winds, To the land of legends, Land of Bow and Helm!” are just two examples of the lyrics of one the best Tolkien-metal bands of all: BATTLELORE!

Battlelore is a finnish symphonic epic metal band whose lyrics are completely inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien's works. They have released 6 full-length albums and 2 DVDs, plus 2 Demo cds, when the band was starting. Their music is dominated by fine feminine vocals, growls, guitars and keyboards and flutes.They create a pretty epic atmosphere indeed! Their current line-up is:   
  • Kaisa Jouhki (vocals)
  • Tomi Mykkänen (vocals)
  • Jussi Rautio (lead guitars)
  • Jyri Vahvanen (guitars)
  • Timo Honkanen (bass)
  • Maria Honkanen (Keyboards, flute)
  • Henri Vahvanen (drums)

Just by seeing the titles of the albums and their covers, you get a feeling of the Tolkien atmosphere and of what kind of music you can expect. Battlelore was founded in 1999, and after a couple of demos, they released their first album: Where the Shadows Lie” in 2001. The cover is a painting by Ted Nasmith called “Morgoth and the High King of the Noldor”. Just have a look at the tracklist and behold the Tolkien influence:

1) Swordmaster
2) The Grey Wizard
3) Raging Goblin
4) Journey to Undying Lands
5) Shadowgate
6) Fangorn
7) The Green Maid
8) Khazad-dûm Pt. 1 (Ages of Mithril)
9) Ride with the Dragons 
10) Feast For the Wanderer *



And best of all, as it's characteristic through all their albums, the lyrics are strongly Tolkien oriented (you can find the complete lyrics of all Battlelore albums here: http://www.darklyrics.com/b/battlelore.html ).

Their next album was called Sword's Song, released in 2003. This for some is the best Battlelore album, at least it's the album that made the band pretty famous, they even toured Europe after this cd. The cover again it's amazing, Ted Nasmith's "The Slaying of Glaurung". This was the last album with former male singer Patrik Mennander.

1) Sons of Riddermark
2) Sword's Song
3) The Mark of the Bear
4) Buccaneer's Inn
5) Attack the Orcs
6) Dragonslayer
7) Khazad-dûm Pt. 2 (Silent Caverns)
8) Horns of Gondor
9) The War of Wrath
10) Forked Height
11) Starlight Kingdom
12) The Curse of the Kings*

Here I give the link to a great performance of Sons of Riddermark at Tavastia Club in Helsinki in 2003, featuring in their 2004 DVD The Journey (I actually went to this club last year :D ). I really like their performance, with their impressive outfits and the weapons, plus Kaisa and Maria are stunningly beautiful!

The Journey includes live performances of Fangorn, Sons of Riddermark, Buccaneers Inn, The War of Wrath, The Mark of the Bear and Raging Goblin. Also 3 music videos, Behind the Scenes, Interviews, a Photogallery and a Bonus Audio CD. In my opinion, a huge higlight is the interview with Jyri, the founder and main composer of Battlelore. He speaks about how Battlelore was founded, and how he is a huge Tolkien fan, how his encounter with Master Tolkien's books was like “love at the first sight”, and how his works influence Battlelore! This really reaches the heart! Also, among other things, he speaks about why Battlelore's dresses up at concerts. Jyri: you are my idol!

Fortunately, someone has uploaded this interview to youtube, for all of us who are not able (yet) to buy this DVD, so I give you the interview with Jyri, founder of Battlelore:

I continue giving their next 3 albums cover and tracklists:

Third Age of the Sun (2005):

1) Usvainen Rhûn
2) Storm of the Blades
3) Ghân of the woods
4) Gwaith-i-mírdain
5) Trollshaws
6) Elves of Lúva
7) Valier - Queens of the Valar
8) Thousand Caves
9) Cloaked in her Unlight
10) Of Orcs and Elves
11) Touch of Green and Gold
12) Pallando - Forgotten Wizards I
13) Gollum's Cry
14) Alatar - Forgotten Wizards II*
15) Elessar's Call*
16) Dwimmerlaik*

Evernight (2007):

1) House of Heroes
2) Ocean's Elysium
3) Summon the Wolves
4) We are the Legions
5) Into the New World
6) Longing Horizon
7) Mask of Flies
8) The Cloak and the Dagger
9) Beneath the Waves
10) Doom and Oblivion
11) The Tale of the Downfall

Cover illustration: "Tol Brandir" by Ted Nasmith.

The Last Alliance (2008):

1) Third Immortal
2) Exile the Daystar
3) The Great Gathering
4) Guardians
5) The Voice of the Fallen
6) Daughter of the Sun
7) Green Daughter
8) Awakening
9) Epic Dreams
10) Moontower
11) The Star of High Hope

The limited edition digipack includes the show at Female Voices Festival , in Belgium, during 2007.

The official video for one of me favorite Battlelore songs, Third Immortal, is the following:

Finally, in 2011, Battlelore release their only concept album up to now. It is based entirely on the adventures of Túrin Turambar, son of Húrin, foe of Glaurung, whose story is the saddest of all Arda, i think. The album is called Doombound, every fan who has read The Silmarillion will immediately get the connection between the story and the album. The album includes their only song completely in finnish, Kärmessurma.

1) Bloodstained
2) Iron of Death
3) Bow and Helm
4) Enchanted
5) Kärmessurma
6) Olden Gods
7) Fate of the betrayed
8) Men as Wolves
9) Last of the Lords
10) Doombound
11) Kielo

There exists a limited digipack DVD edition (which i possess), which includes two concerts, 4 music videos, Tour Videos and a photogallery. It is simply AWESOME!

The following is“Enchanted”, a song where Nienor laments what befell her and her brother. This song includes some lyrics in the beautiful finnish language:

Very unfortunately, in October 23rd of 2011, Battlelore announced an indefinite break, “to focus on other aspects of life and build up more creative energy for the future”. Let us indeed hope that it will be just a break, and not a termination! Battlelore is the finest and most loyal Tolkien metal band I know, and it would be a pity that they stop existing. Plus I have never seen them live, and honestly I cannot die until I do so.

I hope you get a feeling of the greatness of this finnish band, completely inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien's works. For more information, such as history, pictures, merch, band, samples, etc, please visit their official site: http://www.battlelore.net/ . The information regarding the band I got from this same website (History, Discography and Band section).

And if you like their music, go ahead and buy their albums, they totally deserve it.

Kiitos Battlelorelle!

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