Release: 14 August 2000
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 first album The Ancient Glory. 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.
Out of the 3 studio albums, this is definitely the one with the clearest black metal influences, with harsh lead guitars and an abundance of growls amongst some moments of clean vocals too. And despite this the band manages to find the right balance between stronger moments and more peaceful segments where you’re caught by the atmosphere of the entire album. The two components fit together smoothly and you will not see one influence taking over the other one. For this reason this album lends itself to a pleasant listen from both sides.
Now talking about the songs, there are, as always happens, more catchy and less catchy ones. Starting from the positive side, songs like The King beneath the Mountains and Malbeth the Seer’s Words really manage to attract the listener during their whole duration, through the help of changing tempos and, in the second case, of awesome acoustic parts where acoustic guitars and folk instruments merge together perfectly to create the calm and comfortable atmosphere I was talking about previously.
On the other hand, there is a flaw that affects Rivendell’s whole discography and that is the repetition of the same segment throughout a song. I wouldn’t make it a great fault for a one-man band, but sometimes it can’t help affecting the listen negatively, such as what happens in Theoden and Aragorn Son or Arathorn where the same melodies repeat for too long before switching to some new tunes. Luckily, that’s not always the case and the band finds fresher ideas on the more folky components, which are definitely the ace in the hole for an album like this.
Ups and downs aside, this is undoubtedly still a great work, and despite being already 22 years long it still owns a dominant position amongst all atmospheric and epic metal albums and sits proudly between bigger bands like Summoning and Falkenbach, whose fans will surely love Rivendell’s works too.
- Intro 02:59
- The King Beneath the Mountains 04:57
- Malbeth the Seer’s Words 05:37
- The Song of Nimrodel: Part I 05:08
- The Song of Nimrodel: Part II 05:36
- Durin’s Halls 05:59
- Theoden 05:08
- Aragorn Son of Arathorn 07:35