Release: 28 April 2003
Label: Skaldic Art Productions
I am reviewing Rivendell’s discography to celebrate the return of its only member Gerold Laimer (also known as Falagar) after 17 years of inactivity, and this is his second album Elven Tears. For the ones who have never heard about this project, Rivendell is an austrian one-man epic folk/black metal band originally started as Fangorn in 1998, when a six-song demo was released. Later the name was changed to Rivendell and three albums where published between 2000 and 2005. Lyrically the songwriting is heavily inspired by Tolkien’s poems.
I believe that this one is the album with the best production of the three. Two guest musicians were also involved in this project, drummer Boltthorn and bassist/engineering Patrick Damiani who were both also involved in the production of some Falkenbach album.
In addition to this, the songs are filled with Arabic sound which makes this album different than almost all other albums of the same genre; while there are less black metal influences than his debut album.
What’s new is also the presence of two songs that reach 11 and 9 minutes of length, respectively. And in the song structure Falagar repeated himself for better or worse, so I chose to analyze this album track by track.
A first instrumental intro Vale of Illusion raises the curtain,and despite a single melody repeats for all 3 minutes of length the song develops as it goes further, ranging between acoustic and non acoustic parts. 2nd track “The Song of Eldamar” is the core of the album, representing it in its good and bad aspects. Rivendell manages to create such an awesome atmosphere by the usage of flute and bagpipes, but the repetitions do not vanish and get clear more than ever instead. Luckily as we get into the 3rd track (the longest one) this flaw fades a bit thanks to some changing tempos and different choruses on similar parts. 4th track Mithrandir is probably my favorite one of the album. Now tempo does not change, but I’ll have to admit that the progressive-ish melodies were really catchy and got my attention throughout the whole duration without problems. The alternation of calmer and stronger moments does nothing but help the song to reach this goal.
Now we’ve got 5th and 6th track and that’s where troubles begin to kick again, or at least for my ears. Perhaps it’s just a lack of inspiration which after all is comprehensive for a one-man band, but I can’t help getting distracted and watching the timer when a song like Dragons Lair goes forward for more than just 3 minutes. That one track is slightly longer than 5 minutes but feels much longer than it actually is…
Fortunately the fix suddenly appears in the form of the 7th track and 2nd longest track The King’s Triumph. That’s such a strange paradox, but this time I’m enjoying the tunes much more than on the previous track! And near the stroke of 4 minutes we’ve got a change of rhythm, where tempo gets slower and a new atmosphere gets opened by the awesome usage of drums and synths as well as the bagpipe parts. And despite the new segment repeats twice, it was still a pleasure to hear something different before coming back again to the main line: yes, in the end these 9 minutes were not boring at all.
The acoustic outro Luthien closes the album and this one track is again as the 2nd one, representing both positive and negative aspects of the entire album. Somebody may enjoy it, somebody else may find it more boring instead.
- Vale of Illusion 03:03
- The Song of Eldamar 04:21
- Misty Mountains 11:07
- Mithrandir 05:00
- The Fall of Finrod 05:54
- Dragon’s Lair 05:11
- The King’s Triumph 09:17
- Luthien 03:14