Eluveitie – Ategnatos

Formed in 2002, Swiss Folk Metal act Eluveitie were thrust almost immediately towards the front line of the burgeoning, so-called Viking Metal/Battle Metal scene as it erupted around them during the middle of that decade. Metal inspired by Vikings and Folk music can be traced back to the likes of Bathory and Skyclad, if not before, but such was the explosion of bands around this time, you couldn’t get out of bed for tripping over accordions, fiddles, animal skins and antlers. Continue reading

Eluveitie – Origins

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In theory, an eight-piece Swiss folk metal band who sing partly in Gaulish and feature instruments as arcane as tin whistles and a hurdy-gurdy should be a recipe for disaster, but this isn’t the case for Zurich’s Eluveitie who continue to draw massive crowds whenever they take to European festival stages. They also keep delivering albums full-to-bursting with catchy Celtic melodies, lethal melo-death riffs and enough identity and passion to torch a plastic sword and Viking helmet producing factory with ease.

While the title Origins (Nuclear Blast) may suggest that the band is looking backwards for inspiration, this is only the case in their lyrical themes which once again deal with the time when the Celts held sway over Europe. The music continues to advance forward while maintaining the formula that has served them so well ever since breakthrough album Slania (Nuclear Blast) announced their arrival back in 2008. The opening double-punch of ‘The Nameless’ and ‘From Darkness’ are lively, if standard Eluveitie fare, while the frantic melodies of ‘Celtos’ and the thunderous bombast of ‘King’ push all the right buttons and leave other folk metal acts looking distinctly bereft of ideas.

The increasing role of female vocalist and hurdy-gurdy player Anna Murphy is evident on Origins with her lush vocals enhancing the songs whenever they appear, especially on the more commercial sounding ‘The Call of the Mountains’ as well as offering a fine cheese to Chrigel Glanzmann’s rough chalk. New guitarist Rafael Salzman’s riffs are solid rather than jaw-dropping, yet the venom shown on the Soilwork-esque ‘The Silver Sister’ is most welcome.

At nearly an hour long, Origins could have done with some fine-tuning and there is no excuse for the children’s choir or the cringe-worthy spoken word sections, however brief they may be. But these complaints are minor, for Eluveitie manage to make almost every song interesting, with so many melodies imbuing the songs with vigour and colour. They seemingly have no desire to sell out, are happy to explore new ground and are easily the most entertaining band affiliated with folk metal. Despite singing about the olden days, their time is now.

 

 

7.5/10

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JAMES CONWAY