Photo by Cunene
A return to fantasy: On April 24th, 2023, Elvenking will continue their epic quest with “Reader Of The Runes – Rapture”, the sequel to their 2019 blockbuster record “Reader of the Runes – Divination”. Forging a potent magic stronger than ever by evoking the essence of heavy metal, pagan metal, folk and melodic death metal, Elvenking set sail to horizons more distant than ever before, boldly taking the world by storm with their quintessentially unique approach to heavy, powerful music.
“We feel stronger than ever”, frontman and vocalist Damna states. “I believe after so many years we have gained full confidence in what we do and especially in what we want to achieve. The path in front of us is clear. We have left behind all fancies, inexperience and immaturity and we know inherently what is possible and what is not.” Words spoken truly: Since their inception in 1997, the band mastered their way to their own identity with courage and bravado, leaving behind the shackles of genres step by step before they truly broke out with their 2014 monument “The Pagan Manifesto”. For four albums now, Elvenking have been defying all genres, feeling quite at home in their very own enchanted realm.
“Rapture”, part two of their monumental “Reader of the Runes” trilogy, bears witness to this evolution: The chemistry of the band consisting of Damna (vocals), Aydan (guitars), Headmatt (guitars), Lethien (violin), Jakob (bass) and Symohn (drums) has become an almost tangible thing, a testimony to their collective willpower. “The chemistry inside the band is perfect at the moment,” Aydan nods. “Everyone in the band is perfectly aware of his role inside a complex mechanism such as Elvenking. This is fundamental in order to avoid cracks in the gear to proceed under full sail.” With the return of drummer Symohn and the addition of touring guitarist Headmatt as permanent member, Elvenking may very well have the best line-up so far, pairing fathomless passion with discipline and skill.
Written between 2020 and 2022, and recorded between May and October 2022 by the band and renowned producer Scott Atkins (Cradle of Filth, Behemoth) who also took over mixing and mastering duties, Elvenking control every tiny step of a new record. “We record ourselves for almost 20 years now,” says Aydan. “I believe we have a crystal clear vision of what we need for each album in terms of production, sound, arrangements and performances. We are so focused on our music that I’m pretty sure we can be the only ones to manage the whole process to get the result we have in our minds.”
Migrating onto a new, altogether darker path while we follow this mysterious figure called the Reader of Runes deeper into the story, “Rapture” shows its long fangs in what are essentially some of the heaviest and most extreme songs Elvenking have ever unleashed. “The tone of the album is darker because the story needed the music to be tragic and violent,” vocalist Damna states. “This gave us the chance to dig deep into our extreme metal influences. We are mainly a melodic metal band – we know that – but we feel that with this album we have set a further gold standard in what this band is able to pull off.” Akin in dramatic flair and atmosphere to the second act of an opera, the divinations the Reader of the Runes made in the first part will turn into horrible reality on this one. Oh yes, there will be blood.
Opening song “Rapture”, an epic tale with fantastic orchestration, dramatic shifts and crushing guitars, also serves as first single – the perfect introduction to this stormy, fantastic voyage. “After three years of absence we decided to give our fans a diverse taste of the album,” Aydan explains the choice. “This is one of the longest tracks and we feel it has all the epicness, the tragic nature and most of the nuances that the album incorporates in its entire length.” It’s not alone in terms of epicness, of course: “The Hanging Tree” sports one of the best refrains you will hear in metal this year while straight shooter “Bride of Night” proves that Elvenking can also write catchy yet ambitions bangers.
However, instead of emphasizing singular songs, “Rapture” should be enjoyed as a radiant whole. An epic metal quest of woe and despair, wrought with mysterious figures, dark magic and an altogether mesmerizing autumnal flair reminiscent of a forest glade during Indian Summer. This is so much more than a metal album. It’s a moving story set to fabulous songs, bridging the gap between fantasy and reality. Many times before, Elvenking have weaved powerful magic into the world. This time, they truly came into their own, wresting their best effort yet from a global pandemic. If that isn’t magic, then what is?
In October 1997 Aydan and Jarpen, together with bass player Sargon and drummer Francesco Anselmi (old school mate of Aydan first, and Jarpen later) rehearse for the very first time (during the first rehearsal ever, the 4 play “The jester dance” from In Flames, Helloween’s “I want out” and a very first version of “A fiery stride”)
After a couple of rehearsals the drummer is out of the band. Sargon introduces his friend Diego Lucchese to join as helping drummer.
The guys put an announcement in a local newspaper: “Heavy metal band in search for a singer”.
17 years old Damna , interested in the thing calls the guys. He comes in, he tries a couple of covers and the rest is history.
Drummer Diego Lucchese decides he’s not the right one for the band and leaves the band with a new singer but without a drummer…
The band is in a hiatus for the summer. Then Aydan finds another announcement in a newspaper: “Heavy metal band (Helloween, Stratovairus, etc) in search for a singer”. And thinks…”hey hope they have a cool drummer…!” and calls the number. The guy answers “Hey are you a singer?” and Aydan sais “No I am interested in your drummer!”. And the guy answers “No, our drummer can play only with us blah blah, but come and see us live next Saturday”. That Saturday Aydan steals his parents’ car and goes to the concert, approaches Zender and …the rest is history once again!
Sargon leaves the band. Things with the new members and the band direction are the reason of the split.
The guys decide it is the time to record a demo out of the ideas they are working on, and decide to go on with a 4 piece line up working on the songs until the recordings.
They spend all year rehearsing 3 times a week to prepare the best material possible in order to join the heavy metal universe.
ELVENKING records the one and only demo-cd “To oak woods bestowed” with Damna singing and playing the bass at New Sin Studios Italy with Luigi Stefanini.
3 days later they get several calls from different record labels and sign a contract with AFM-Records Germany.
After this, EK urgently starts to search for a player and Gorlan joins the band.
The band releases debut album “Heathenreel” recorded and mixed in Sweden at famous Fredman Studios with Fredrik Nordstrom.
First important live shows (ex. Szieget festival in Hungary).
Following the request to do some shows together with Martin Walkiyer of Skyclad, violin player Elyghen joins the band.
During the songwriting for the second album Jarpen leaves the band for a short period. He returnes in the line-up but shortly after Damna leaves.
The band plays a special show at Bloodstock UK with Martin Walkiyer performing a set of adrenalized Skyclad’s songs.
Kleid joines as Damna’s replacement
The band records second album “WYRD”.
“WYRD” is finally released after a long period.
In August Aydan states to the other band members that he would leave the band if Damna doens’t get back in the line up.
Damna rejoins ELVENKING in August and Kleid quits.
“The winter wake” demos are recorded without Jarpen.
At the end of the year Jarpen leaves the band.
ELVENKING decide to move on as a quintet, with only one guitar and sing a new longer contract with AFM-Records.
“The winter wake” album is then recorded in Italy and mixed at Sonic Pump Studios – Helsinki, Finland by producer Nino Laurenne.
“The winter wake” is released.
Elvenking tour Europe supporting Jon Oliva’s Pain + Sonata Arctica and Doro.
Elvenking needs a second guitar and start working on the next album called “The scythe” with session guitar player Luca Luison (who later refused to join the band , leaving music business). “The scythe” is mixed at Sonic Pump Studios – Helsinki, Finland by producer Nino Laurenne.
“The scythe” album is released.
Elyghen moves to Ireland for working reasons.
Rafahel and Eleonora join as live musicians on guitar and violin.
The band propose the idea to do an acoustic EP to AFM Records, but the German label asks to do a full album out of this idea.
EK stops the working on the next electric album to focus on the project.
“Two tragedy poets” is released still with Elyghen on violin.
Right after the recordings, Lethien joins the band for the live activity.
Rafahel and Lethien join the line up officially.
Massive live activity.
“Red Silent Tides” is recorded (with producer Dennis Ward) and released.
ELVENKING tour Europe supporting Primal Fear.
Right after the release of the album Zender leaves the band.
Symohn fills in.
Also Gorlan leaves the band to dedicate to his family and become father
New bass player Jakob joins EK.
ELVENKING support Rhapsody of Fire in Europe.
ERA is released …and a new ERA begins! With “ERA”, the band’s 2012 release, the development on the live sector continued with a full European tour and appereance at Summer Festivals like Masters of Rock (CZ) and Sabaton Open Air (Sweden)
The evolution of ELVENKING is quite impressive. With constant quality, the Italians have become one of Europe’s leading folk band. At the same time, the band managed to refine their unique sound. Regarding their brand new release “The Pagan Manifesto“, it’s obvious that ELVENKING – again – have exceeded themselves and deliver the most rich and mature album of their career so far. While 2012’s “Era” album marked something like a new beginning for the band, ELVENKING continue right there but also extend the folk part, revisiting releases like the debut “Heathenreel”, the follow-up “Wyrd” and 2006’s “The Winter Wake”. But “The Pagan Manifesto” again shows new sides and facets of the band:
just take the 13-minute epic track “King Of The Elves”, featuring Amanda Somerville (Avantasia, Kiske/Somerville) as guest. With “Elvenlegions” (which will be the album’s first single), ELVENKING release a very special song, dedicated to their fans. Folk rules supreme in “Moonbeam Stone Circle” and “Towards The Shores” gives you the ballad feel. Whatever ELVENKING do, they do well. And with “The Pagan Manifesto”, they brought their unique sound to perfection.
ELVENKING support GAMMA RAY and Rhapsody of Fire in Europe.
THE PAGAN MANIFESTO is released.
After 8 studio albums, ELVENKING finally fulfill the wish of their dedicated, worldwide fanbase and release a Live DVD now. Recordings for “THE NIGHT OF NIGHTS” took place in Pordenone, Italy. The magic of this very special night was captured perfectly. “The Night Of Nights – Live” comes as DVD/2CD Digipak, incl. the full show (more than two hours playing time) on both DVD and CD. The DVD additionally comes up with the band’s six official video clips.
The amazing show with Hammerfall in Greece was one of the highlights of 2015 In 2016 ELVENKING reached the top of the live dreams playing at the biggest and most famous Metal Festival of the World in front of the 75.000 headbangers at Wacken Open Air. To close 2016 at the top, the band finally set sails to the Land of the Rising Sun for a successful JAPAN mini tour with fellows DGM with Sold-out shows and incredible memories to bring back home.
After the release of the LIVE ALBUM and a bit of touring, the band decided to start thinking about a NEW ALBUM working since the beginning of 2017 on the pre-production of the new material at Artesonika Recording Studio with IVAN MONI BIDIN. As soon as Aydan and Damna felt that the result was exactly what they had in mind as the successor of “The Pagan Manifesto”, the band entered Domination Studio with SIMONE MULARONI and recorded “SECRETS OF THE MAGICK GRIMOIRE” the new album released once again by AFM-Records on November 10th, 2017.
2017 saw ELVENKING embarking a headlining European tour supported by Finsterforst during the spring that touched mainly GERMANY, but also BELGIUM, HOLLAND and SWITZERLAND. The band also played indoor and open air festivals like RAGNAROK FESTIVAL (DE), MASTERS OF ROCK (CZ), DONG OPEN AIR (DE), LEYENDAS DEL ROCK (ES), and finally visited South America with an headlining show in MEXICO and three coheadlining shows with ENSIFERUM in ARGENTINA and BRAZIL.