Review: Elvenking – The Night of Nights Live

 

After nearly two decades and eight albums, Italian Folk/Power metal act, Elvenking, finally releases a live CD/DVD. Recorded in the band’s native Italy, the album features twenty-four tracks spanning the band’s entire discography giving fans a lot of sink their teeth into.

Despite acting as something of a greatest hits collection, live albums are often a mixed bag for fans. Some enjoy the unique flavor of their favorite songs recorded during live performance, while others loathe the imperfection of live recordings. Whether you love or hate live albums there’s no denying that with twenty-four career spanning tracks ‘The Night of Nights’ is gem for longtime fans and the perfect starting point for new fans alike. Some might remark that this is the only highlight of the album, but there is plenty to praise on this record.

While some bands sound dramatically different from their studio recordings Elvenking is spot on. The music is almost identical to the records and sounds crisp and clear to the ear; a major plus for a live record. The only complaint regarding the band’s performance is the way vocalist, Damnagoras, approaches his duties. While his vocals are mostly spot on there are some notable deviations from the original song such as on ‘The Loser’ where he grunts at the end of lines that were originally stretched. While these are small complaints longtime fans will find these slight alterations to be rather annoying as they tend to interrupt the flow of the song, while adding little to the performance. Regardless, Elevenking’s performance is highly praiseworthy making for an enjoyable live experience. So let us move onto the real issues.

A key element to a live album is the crowd. Unfortunately, this is where ‘The Night of Nights’ suffers as it feels as though the crowd is unnaturally muted while the band is playing. While this is a nonissue for some fans it takes a bit away from the experience, especially at certain points where Damnagoras interacts with the crowd only for the fans’ reaction to be drowned out; though this is an irregular issue as some songs do feature the crowd prominently. This is by far the greatest criticism for ‘Nights of Nights’ and just one of two flaws. The second issue is that Damnagoras tends to spend a great deal of time addressing the crowd between songs, especially between ‘Runereader’ and ‘Pagan Revolution.’ This may be nitpicky, but after a minute or more of hearing a language you’re not familiar with you tend to lose interest. Of course, the same can be said even when the commentary is in English, for after an extended period of talking you find yourself becoming uninterested and yearning for music. Regardless, this is part of the live experience and if you don’t want to hear the singer talk to his fans then by all means buy the studio record.

Overall, Elvenking’s ‘The Night of Nights’ is a better than expected live album. Showcasing the band’s strong live performance and featuring an impressive amount of tracks, the album is definitely worthy of adding to your collection. And though it has a few minor flaws, there’s nothing here to deter fans unless they’re simply not into live albums. That being said, this is a solid offering for longtime and new fans alike and is the perfect way to enjoy the Elvenking live experience. Of course, if simply hearing the band isn’t enough, the entire ‘The Night of Nights’ show is also available on DVD. 8.5 /10

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