Sound: Wew, a new Eluveitie album. Its a return to the sound of Slania, but slightly different in many ways. To those who don't know Eluveitie (pronounced 'El-vay-tee' apparently), they are a folk metal band, with a heavy dose of melodic death metal (Or you could put the it other way round, its hard to tell). They come from Switzerland, but play Irish/Celtic folk influenced metal.
Alongside the normal Vocals/Bass/Guitar/Drums setup, we have: fiddles, piccolos, flutes, celtic bagpipes and a contrabass. As you can imagine, it makes for a a lot of members.
The albums song list and song positioning are roughly the same as the list from Slania: 1st track is an ambient/opener, followed by a faster paced second track, then the single/music video track and so on. It may seem awfully odd to newer listeners, but those who know and love Eluveitie know that they're seriously catchy and blend these elements together very well.
The guitars/drums/bass haven't changed in tone since Slania, but the folk instruments have been made a little louder in the final mix. The riffs from the guitars, however, have had less emphasis on the 'Gothenburg' riffing, to a more heavier, pounding effect for some bits such is in the song ''(Do)minion''. The instrumental tracks are much more lively too, such as ''Setlon'' which is a song you'd expect to hear in an Irish pub.
A new addition since Slania is the use of more clean vocals. Although Chrigel (lead vocalist ie. Growls) adds his usual burly vocals to the mix, Anna Murphy who I believe is the 'fiddler' (no puns intended) also sings cleans on a few of the tracks as well as a male vocalist, though I'm not sure if he is from the band or not. It does make this album much more refreshing though.
The sound is accessable to many people, even my parents (over 50's very un-new people) enjoy listening to it. So I'm sure anyone who checks this album out will like it. // 9
Lyrics: As with most folk band lyrics, they focus on myths, fables and stories from Celtic culture, as well as ideals from the time and of off-shoots such as the Gauls. Lyrics are written in and sung in english, unlike in Slania, where a few songs had Gaelic lyrics.
An example from the song ''Kingdom Come Undone'':
This is v for vengeance
This is v for vehemence
This is v for victory
This is v for Vercingetorix
Rather simplistic but great to listen to, they invoke the spirit that Eluveitie tries to put across through mixing new age music and folk. The singers are Chrigel and Anna and the unidentified male singer. They all do their parts very well, although Annas voice is a little lacklustre compared to other prominant female vocalists. However, theres nothing that detracts from the album at all: It sounds purely amazing. // 8
Overall Impression: I couldnt wait when I read about Eluveitie making a new album, Slania helped me develope a keener sense for folk/old-age music and was such a joy to listen to. To compare it is a little redundant, but folk lovers will recall bands such as Ensifirum, Cthonic (the templates the same, but the sound is way off), Korpiklaani or even Amporphis sharing a similar style. However, the only band that comes close to Eluveitie is Cruachan from Ireland who are relatively unknown but have a long-ish history.
My favourite songs are the title track, ''(Do)Minion)'', ''Isara'', ''Kingdom Come Undone'', ''Quoth the Raven'', ''Setlon'' and ''Sempiternal Embers''.
Theres nothing to hate about this band, though some might be put off by the 'Un-metalness' of celtic folk instruments (except the piccolo, which is very metal). But for most, theres so much to like about them. The one thing I probably dont like is that the single they release (''Thousandfold'') wasnt anywhere near as good as the main single from Slania (''Inis Mona'') though its just a silly niggling complaint.
I got this CD the day it came out and its been a great start to the year (along with Dark Tranquillity's 'We Are The Void'). Of course, I save all my music twice over, and store the CDs, so theres never any cause for concern about it getting lost.
I suggest this album to absoluetly everyone. Really. Its that likeable. // 9