There are some releases out there that truly leave the RMR crew scratching their mutual heads. Often it is one of those records that shouldn’t ever be on any PRs distribution roster. Marketing strategy largely unfinished, the mix and master in smithereens, and a production that will make every music lover run for cover.
Elf Queen‘s Glory to the Brave is one of those records. It lurked about our review pipe for a few months now. And it’s frustrating, the production – let’s face it – feels like one of those warmed-up hangovers with no caffeine fix in sight. And that’s exactly where the issue lies. Songwriting is a complex and elaborate business. But it’s surely not stitching a piece together with raw strings like one of these famed golems. You also need to get the parts moving and breathe life into yer concoction. And that’s the crux of the matter here.
More often than not, Glory to the Brave feels like a third-grader that had a go at music-making with his dad’s 20-year-old computer. Need an example? Forever ain’t Over favors that badly executed and ever-returning lick that slams itself on top of the rest of the band’s contribution and – indeed – the vocalist. Whatever the technique that they used to integrate the guitar might be, it just sounds disjointed – and annoying. So, now you have this overly loud thing sitting in your mix that nobody really bothered to tone down or adjust to the rest of the wall of sound.
In other words, the mix ain’t working and the master – well – seems non-existent. And that, folks, is really, really bad. Now, that the songwriting errs on the simpler side is not necessarily a bad thing. Yet again, Glory to the Brave contains nothing else. To the point that the songs in there become predictable. And that’s another brownie point that just went down the drain. And don’t even get me started on their marketing strategy, social media presence, and all those other tasks a good band needs to do to be successful.
So, why did we even bother writing this review? You see, some of that stuff Elf Queen strut actually has some promise.
First, Kelsey – the vocalist – boasts an almost endearing stage presence. Now, there’s definitely a lot of room for improvement in her vocal performance. But the recording and mixing skills of whoever controls studio work over at Elf Queen – yet again – need an upgrade. The scratchy output that was just thrown into the mix unchanged does not necessarily send those rating points soaring. And that’s not the vocalist’s fault.
Second, the quality of the tracks improves by the second half of the record, at least somewhat. And that, with Glory of the Brave – the title – pretty much topping it. This one indeed runs on a certain groove and sports a remarkable attention to detail that is not difficult to miss. It is also in this second half that you’ll find some riffs and solos that will actually hold some water. And that includes some pretty successful intrusions into that maidenesque territory many seek and few truly find. Albeit that Elf Queen are a few lightyears away still to really cross swords with the masters of Senjutsu. And that’s not going to change any time soon.
That said, Glory of the Brave would indeed be on another plane of existence with a carefully manufactured production. The record would still not score at top levels, mind you. But for sure somewhere in the middle of the terrible ranking scale. As it stands today, the record comes in at a pretty catastrophic level of quality. And that ain’t a conclusion that the RMR crew comes to easily.
I would truly hope that the folks over at Elf Queen would consider hiring a good producer and get themselves an even better recording studio that holds its water. Because you see, the talent is there, but without proper care to quality and all other aspects of running a band, such an outfit will never succeed. The music business is, after all, merciless and only the best will run a real chance. But for now and judging by this record, this band ain’t gonna be one of them.
Record rating: 1/10 | Label: Self-Released | Web: Facebook (band)
Release Date: 31 October 2021