Sound: Spirit is the first official studio album by the Swiss Celtic/Pagan metal band Eluveitie. Preceded by the EP Vn, this album gives a more professional impression, mainly because of the great variety within the songs. You get whatever you want on this record, from blast beats on Of Fire, Wind and Wisdom to the beautiful Celtic intro on Your Gaulish War, but also easy listening songs like Aid, a song that you could call a ballad, but I'd rather call it a hymn. The production of this album is greatly done by Nuclear Blast Records, and there's a great balance between the many instruments that are used. Nothing is left in the back, everyone get's his share in the melodies that I think Eluveitie are best at. To get a good insight in the sound, I think one must distinguish the Vocal work and the Instrumental work. Eluveitie is clearly a band that focuses on the instrumental sound, and doesn't pay as much attention to the vocal sound, so the melody stands out a bit. Nonetheless, the vocals by Chrigel Glanzmann are certainly a part of the beautiful composition. // 9
Lyrics: The lyrics on Spirit are part English, part Gaulish, which is the old language of Gaul, an area conquered by the Romans back in the day. If you ask me, the Gaulish lyrics make the entire picture complete, it takes you down to where it all started for society, it gives an almost primitive impression. A pity that you don't understand what they say in the majority. I mean, it's clear to some that Elveti means Helvetia(the classical name of Switzerland), but that's pretty much it. The English lyrics however give you clear stories, sometimes with a bit too much imagery, but that's not so bad. Lyrically, this album is not bad, but certainly not outstanding. // 7
Overall Impression: This album is completely unique to me, something I've never heard before, while being a full time metalhead for several years now. Some may call this the average folk metal after listening to it once. Well I just have on thing to say to these people: listen again! The melodies are so complex, the drums blend in graciously, and you get a great taste of old Ireland and Gaul, nothing like the usual rascal bands just shouting about Thor, Ragnark and beer.
My Top 3 from Spirit is as follows:
03.Uis Elveti: one of the Gaulish songs, with a very irregular structure. It starts with a steadily rising tension, bursting out in a pounding rhythm supported by a beautiful melody, mainly played by the bands Whistles and the Uillean Pipes, and a subtle taste of violin. Then we go to the quiet music again, and burst into the bombasm that this song stands out for.
02.Tegernak: also in Gaulish, is a song that opens with a harmonic guitar melody, backed up by whistles, climaxing in the verse. An impenetrable wall of guitar sound fills the room when this verse is on, leaving no room for anything else than Eluveitie, the temptation to listen carefully is just too big. It is a bit on the long side though, and it gets a bit boring after 5 minutes, just like the standard Dragonforce song. But technically, melodic and lyrical, this is a tremendous prestation by the band.
01.Your Gaulish War: an English song, opens with very subtle guitar melody, giving the impression that this will be an easy song, nothing too special. Nothing could be more wrong. Once the drums roll in, the most beautiful harmonic melody you'll ever hear is being shot out of the speakers, striking you with a solid block of nothing but emotion carried by the music. Just to make things better, this is also the best vocal song on the album, with Chrigel growling at his best in his raw, screaming style, the way only he can sing a great Celtic song. Just for this song I bought the album, and heard the rest later. Lucky me, the rest was just as beautiful.
About this album, there's nothing I really hate, although it could improve a bit on the lyrical side of the whole deal. On the topic of melody being put to good use, this is certainly an album that should be much better known, it deserves fame it doesn't have yet. If this album were ever to be stolen from me or lost, I would use any means possible to retrieve it. (It cost me 7 weeks just to get it from the distributor because of the low amount of CD's produced.) // 8