Elvenking is a power metal band hailing from Sacile, Italy. They are heavily influenced by the folk metal pioneers Skyclad, and as expected, their music also exhibits some folk metal influences.
They have 5 albums out: the first 3, Heathenreel, Wyrd, and The Winter Wake, are heavily folk influenced, while their later album, The Scythe, is darker and more pop sounding. Their latest release is a "mostly" acoustic album, Two Tragedy Poets which is even more folk influenced than their earlier albums, but also retains the pop influence of their previous album. It contains some acoustic versions of their earlier songs, and questionable songs such as their cover of the pop hit "Heaven is a Place on Earth." O_o
Heathenreel they had a guest violinist, Paolo Polesel. Then they had Elyghen, who seems to be their main violinist, who played on Wyrd and The Winter Wake. When Elyghen temporarily left the band, Lethien came in to fill his place. They also had a tour violinist named Eleonora. (The picture to the left is of Elyghen)
The Winter Wake is a good representation of their overall style, and the violins play a very prominent role in the music. They play usually fast, moving fiddle-like parts, and often double with the guitars or vocals on the main melody of the song. The violins are in almost every song and they are usually mixed very high. The violin definitely gets treated like an important instrument and an important component of the band, which is a rare find in metal. It sounds like they use acoustic violins on their albums, but they use electric violins live. Elyghen uses a Yamaha EV-204.
Recommended songs: "Pagan Purity" (Heathenreel), "Seasonspeech" (Heathenreel), "The Silk Dilemma" (Wyrd), "Neverending Nights" (The Winter Wake), "Another Awful Hobs Tale" (Two Tragedy Poets)
Official site: http://www.elvenking.net/
Here's a song with prominent violins, representative of their overall style:
And here's a song with intricate violin playing, off their acoustic album: