Personnel: Kaisa Jouhki, Tomi Mykk?nen (vocals); Janne Saksa (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Dan Swan?.
Recording information: Sound Supreme Studios.
Finland via Middle Earth power metal band Battlelore deliver some seriously heavy riding-into-battle riffs on this album, without losing their basic keyboard-driven fantasy movie soundtrack sound. The male and female vocals combine for an operatic effect; because of the saga-like lyrical content, the two seem to be playing dramatic roles more than other bands that pair voices, like Lacuna Coil. Behind them, the band's music is a combination of Rhapsody of Fire and other similar "fantasy metal" outfits (chugging guitar riffs, thwacking drums, soaring keyboards, shredtastic solos) with the occasional Iron Maiden steal (like the bass melody that opens the album's first track, "Bloodstained," which could have come off any Maiden disc of the past ten years). The group alternates between moody stompers like "Bloodstained" and "Men as Wolves" and faster, more headbang-intensive tracks like "Last of the Lords." The only time they get really epic, though, is on the eight-minute title track. For most of the record, they keep things short and anthemic, perfect for live performances where pumping fists and crowd singalongs will jump everything up a notch. ~ Phil Freeman