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Eluveitie - Origins

Eluveitie - CD Review


Eluveitie - Origins 






CD Info
Nuclear Blast
16 Tracks
English and Gaulish Lyrics


It seems that over the last few years, Eluveitie have become the undisputed kings and queens of folk metal. Of all the metal shirts and hoodies I own, more people have complimented me on my Eluveitie merch than that of any other band, and there isn’t a folk metal fan I’ve met who doesn’t love the band’s unique take on the genre, an unusually perfect balance of celtic folk and death metal that explores the fascinating history and culture of ancient Gaul. The Swiss outfit’s previous battle-ready historical concept album Helvetios was praised by old fans and embraced by a hoard of new ones, including a few of my colleagues here at Sonic Cathedral, so expectations were high when the band announced that they were working on a new LP. Origins, Eluveitie sixth effort, is exactly what was promised and exactly what we’ve come to expect from the band: a new opus in the saga of the ancient Gauls over a bed of heavy death metal riffs and folk instruments. No, there’s not really anything new here, just Eluveitie doing what they’re best at, which is, to quote their facebook page, “Pure F***ing Folk Metal.”

Origins presents a more polished version of the more cinematic and grandiose direction of Helvetios as well as more mature and natural-sounding arrangements of the folk and death metal elements. Yet, all the essentials are still very much present: spoken-word intros and interludes, the striking and duality and sometimes violent juxtaposition of celtic folk and death metal as well as between the vocals of Anna Murphy and Chrigel Glanzman, plenty of headbanging moments and plenty of quieter, more solemn ones. The album starts off strong, with an intro that sets the mood and atmosphere for the entire album and transports the listener back to the forests of ancient Gaul, followed by a string of strong tracks ranging from the hard-hitting “The Nameless” to the catchy and anthemic Anna-led “Call of the Mountain,” (which will be released in five different versions in English and the four official languages of Switzerland on special editions of the album). After this, however, the songs seem to suffer from the curse that plagues every Eluveitie album to date, which is an over-reliance on a specific formula which renders them more-or-less forgettable. The single “King” and the closer “Carry the Torch” are the exceptions, providing some memorable moments to break up the relative monotony of the album’s second half, which all sort of blends together. It’s a shame, because, as usual, they’re not terrible songs, but they don’t stand up to their more notable counterparts on the album. As usual, Eluveitie have trouble with consistency on their albums, causing a good portion of the record to fall by the wayside. It’s come to the point where this is pretty much expected, so it’s not as if it’s a great disappointment, but I was almost hoping they’d overcome this particular weakness after six albums. Apparently, it’s still a problem.

For the most part Origins, in its sound, theme, and composition, is Helvetios part two. Yes, the sound is a little more polished and the general flow of the album is smoother, but while there are some great and enjoyable tracks on this record, it lacks the stand-out moments of its predecessor. To be fair, Helvetios was a great comeback album and blew the band’s previous work out of the water, making it a hard album to match, let alone top, so while Origins might even be considered a better album, it doesn’t have the same wow-factor that Helvetios had. Don’t let that scare you, though. This album doesn’t offer anything new, but Origins is still Eluveitie at their best and a record to be proud of, even though I still sort of wish they’d mix it up a bit.