Release: 27 January 2024
Avalon’s new effort boasts well rounded influences from rock, decent folk melodies, and very poetic songwriting across the board. Like their name suggests, their specific themes involve the British Celtic legacy, but very much in that romanticized Arthurian vein. It takes that approach to the extent that the chorus to one song runs: “born of Pagan spirit and Christian heart”. In terms of the music, which is primarily what will be discussed here, the album goes from rock ballads to anthems, to this reviewer’s personal favourite track, “Finding Avalon”, which is a mid-paced rocker that has sufficient punch for hard rock territory. The flutes however, seem to be heavily influenced by Jethro Tull, to the point where some of it almost feels like notation drawn straight off Ian Anderson’s own compositions. However, the band does sufficiently transform the original context by incorporating it into a more straightforward Folk Rock context.
The lyrics and delivery are in the vein of a hymnal, very reminiscent of a storyteller or bard. However for listeners familiar with Blind Guardian, this isn’t that sort of bardry, rather its more like the balladeering storytelling approach, but specifically brought into a rock context. The vocals are well suited to this approach, and as hinted at the start of the review there is a tendency towards romanticized imagery and fluid proesy lyrics.
Overall, Lakesongs of Elbid is a solid, well-rounded album that transforms its folk roots into a rock context. With much of the topics and the approach to songwriting this album is clearly the creative vision of the band themselves, and generally the variation and range of the songs presented makes this album well worth experiencing when listeners are in the mood for something captivating and atmospheric without losing the focus of the listener on the music itself.
- The Lake Isle of Innisfree
- Arthurian Overture (Based on themes from Trevor Jones’ ‘Merlin’ OST (1998))
- Pagan Spirit
- The Dream of Rhonabwy
- Llyn Cwm Llwch
- Finding Avalon
- Canens (Maya)
- Barrett’s Privateers – A Tribute to Stan Rogers
- Black Lake (Llyn y Fan Fach)
- Llyn y Fan Fawr (Sister Lake)
- Silvaplana Rock