01 En Les Portes De L’eternitat
03 The Quest Of Legacy
06 Pedraforca, Terra De Bruixes
07 El Regreso Del Samurai
08 Winter Elven Dream
09 La Memòria Del Vent
10 A New Beginning From The Land Of The Dreams
Narsilion, one of the most recognized contemporary names in the genre, hail from Spain and “Elenna Nórë” is their fourth full-length release. It was preceded by “Nerbeleth” (Caustic, 2004), “Arcadia” (Caustic, 2006), “Namárië” (Ars Musica Diffundere, 2008), and “Return To The Silver Forest” (demo release, Earendil, 2004). Apart from the two standard members, Lady Nott and Sathorys Elenorth, guest appearances from other acclaimed artists often occur. In this album Ia Bjärgö (Arcana, guest vocalist in Tribes of Medusa) and Gerhard Hallstatt (Allerseelen, Aorta) have collaborated in the music, lyrics and vocals of “Tardor”. Additional vocalists have also offered their contributions in various tracks. Narsilion are known for their discernible medieval influences, the use of a plethora of folk instruments, and their gracefully expressive, cinematic representation of classic fantasy themes, such as elven lore, enchanted forests, forgotten magic and distant lands. References are equally made to Celtic and Greek legends, forming a special blend that unites myth and fantasy and places the emphasis on the origin of both: admiration for nature, connection to our environment and heritage, understanding of mythical symbolism, contact with the lighter, easier, less material side of ourselves. The content remains consistent throughout the four albums, developping in the forms of its expression.
In “Elenna Nórë” the continuous musical development of the project is again evident, and a new source of inspiration is discovered in the Japanese tradition. The attributes of selfless heroism and uncompromising honour found in the samurai are praised in “El Regreso Del Samurai”, where the influence from Japanese traditional music is intertwined with western classical instruments in a truly exceptional way. The distinguishably Japanese melody is interpreted in a way which proves that two very different traditions can exist musically without lack of respect for neither. Violin, strings and vocals perform what could easily be a part of the soundtrack of “The Last Samurai”. The Japanese mark is also found in “Senshi”, an apparently battle-related instrumental track. The ominous and tragic character of the composition, along with the high pitched strings and military drums create a warlike atmosphere, while battle cries can be heard in the background. The same sense of valour is displayed in “The Quest Of Legacy”, my personal favourite in this album, where sorrowful string arrangements, flute and ethereal sounds accompany the hero’s lonely pursuit of a legacy he feels compelled to follow, however harsh the sacrifice may be. The female vocals participate in the chorus, reminiscent of the romantic era of knighthood, where the lady would bid farewell to her knight, while he rode on to battle, or in this case to the fulfilment of his destiny. In “Tardor” a ballad-like acoustic guitar intro, strings, flute, spoken word in Swedish and German by Ia Bjärgö and Gerhard Hallstatt respectively, and in what I understand to be Portuguese by additional vocalists, result in a flowing, dreamy folk ambience.
In “Amaurëa” the imposing strings, ritual drums and Lady Nott’s high-pitched vocals produce the feeling of theatrical melancholy in a slow-moving, memorable track. “En Les Portes De L’eternitat” maintains a distinctly medieval, uplifting tone, resembling Arcana in the use of choir, rhythmic drums, escalating keyboard sounds and piercing strings which give a grandiose quality to the composition. The layers of sound are gradually being added, to converge in a thundering crescendo at the final part of the track. “Pedraforca, Terra De Bruixes” uses bells, wolves’ howls, Celtic pipes and martial drumming, in a belligerent track very different from the strangely serene environment of the rest of the album. Nevertheless a superb track evocative of jousting matches, or a medieval military march. “Winter Elven Dream” is exactly what the title indicates, a beautiful, otherworldly track utterly transporting the listener to the realm where the fabled creatures dwell in eternal light and perpetual bliss, and we mortals are allowed only glimpses of their divine magnificence. “La Memòria Del Vent” brings chills down one’s spine, with its ritual drums, Celtic pipe and ethereal female choirs being broken by airy violin sequences, and the troubadour narrating his story in an epic manner. “A New Beginning From The Land Of The Dreams” commences with a languid piano sequence, and very soon strings, flute and voice join in to what could be described as partly a folk ballad and partly ethereal/heavenly voices. “Zazen” offers the perfect ending, with its doleful piano sequence and its ethereal background sounds and strings.
“Elenna Nórë” is a masterful mélange of medieval traditions, fantastical and mythical imagery and folklore. It is permeated by epic influences, and in its sweet melancholy are embodied the ideals and the spirit of knighthood, heroism and gallantry. Along with Narsilion’s notable evolution, and the introduction of certain eastern influences to their sound, their characteristic romanticism, captivating passion and familiar motifs are ever-present, ensuring yet another singular listening experience.