Eluveitie is one of my favorite bands, but this album was a huge misstep. There are really only 2 decent tracks, and like the other reviewers said, it’s more pop than metal. The band was trying to kind of do a ‘back to roots’ acoustic folk album but it ended up being long, boring and overproduced.
Metal Album Reviews[RSS]
When Eluveitie announced that its next album would be a folk acoustic album it sent shockwaves amongst its growing fan-base. Some expressed disappointment, others like myself, took a let’s-wait-and-see approach taking into consideration the talent of this band. Slania was Eluveitie’s breakout album and one the two best death metal albums of 2008. Given that they were just starting to gain notoriety around the world for the excellent combination of melodic death metal with folk music, I thought it was premature to come up with an accoustic album. A folk/metal follow-up along the lines of Slania or Spirit would have been the wiser move, in my view.
So here it is. There are two ways this could have gone. It could be better than expected or it could fulfil the pessimist’s view that it would just be poor. Unfortunately, in my view, it fails to deliver the excellent music that this band could have come up with. There are 15 tracks plus two nice and familiar bonus tracks. That’s a lot of music. However, several songs are unnecessary and have almost no value: A Girl’s Oath and Nata- both of which are mainly vocals, the first female, the second ugly male vocals that sound like a drunkard’s song. The CD has the same intro and outro song-Sacrapos-which isn’t good either. The outro version adds some bells at the end. A lot of songs are listeneable but also unremarkable and forgetable: The Arcane Dominion, Within the Grove, Dessumiis Luge, Gobanno, Voveso in Mori. I will say thought that I am very fond of Dessumiis Luge mainly because ends with an awesome and gutsy girl scream that for some reason I can’t stop listening to. This leaves us with a with a few oustanding songs: Brictom, a nice and energetic song gets things started on the right foot. The Cauldron of Renascence, a wonderful fast cheery instrumental song. The single Omnos, which is this album’s Inis Mona in so far as once you hear it, you’ll be replaying it in your head for days to come. Carnutian Forest, which is hampered by a lame intro that lasts more than half of the song. Memento, which sounds very much like a song by the great German folk metal bands In Extremo or Nachtgeschrei- that is to say, a more traditional folk song that is more bagpipe and guitar-based. And finally, Ne Regv Na, which sounds at times like a good Latin-American pop song.
Overall, this is a very pop sounding album with the vocals standing out far above everything else. In this case Anna Murphy provides the majority of the vocals with Chrigel Glanzmann providing the occasional low-volume scream or groan. Anna has quite the vocal range and a pleasing voice. But as a pop folk album it has to obey the immutable law of pop music according to which an album can have only a few good songs and the majority have to be fillers. And it’s a shame. The good songs in this album are indeed outstanding. But too many songs aren’t at all. What those songs lack is a certain something- an edge. They are rather slow, mild, musically very light- not the kind of music you associate with peppy or tear-inducing folk melodies. It mostly sounds like there are only 2 or 3 people playing instruments during most songs instead of the full 8 member band. Production is excellent overall.
The band chose not to translate the ancient lyrics. That is unfortunate. And while I do appreciate the text included in ancient scripts, I for one am curious about what the ancient Europeans had on their minds. Perhaps the lyrics to A Girl’s Oath or Nata would help us understand the significance of including these lacklusters songs. Translations for some songs can be found online if one searches long enough. The artwork overall of the booklet is nice and complex but the print quality is not good. I wonder if European versions are better. The US version looks like a copy of a copy somehow.
Recommended for those who enjoyed the folk instrumental songs on Slania and for everyone who likes their folk music sounding more pop.
I have to say that I think this is a pretty good release from the band. I was really enjoying how Anna Murphy got to take the lead on the vocals for this album otherwise I don’t think it would have been as good. If your into music such as: Faun, Neun Welten, and Nest I suggest you give this album a try. And if you really were into this Eluveitie release and haven’t heard of any of those bands, check them out for sure.
I’m going to have to disagree with the first review of this album and say that the album sounds GREAT in the gaulish language. I think this is a solid effort by the band, and no, not one second of the album gives off and Linkin Park feel.
I was disappointed though however, I expected something better. Some of the songs don’t even have lyrics to them and give off a very immature vibe when being compared to musicians or groups in the celtic/folk genre.
It’s worth picking up though as it provides a great atmosphere for background music.
For fans of Eluveitie’s previous work, this isn’t anything like that, as there’s not really any black metal, or even metal influence. Yet, it’s not a real folk album, either – I have plenty of straight-ahead Celtic (and even some Scandinavian) folk CDs, and this doesn’t sound like that. It IS folk-influenced – there’s the obvious presence of the folky acoustic instruments, and Irish/Celtic melodies pop up throughout. The singing doesn’t sound Celtic to me – it reminds me of folk-pop bands from Scandinavia, particularly Varttina, which is a kind of cool, energetic sound. The drumming is the only thing that bugs me on this, it tends to have that overstressed “3″ on the 4/4, like modern pop-rock (almost techno-ish), although it’s not terrible – but it’s certainly not Celtic/folky sounding. The overall sound is very polished, modern, professional recording quality, and it sounds good to me.
But then, I don’t need a straight-ahead folk album by Eluveitie, there’s plenty of that on the market; and they’ve got two and a half pretty solid Celtic black metal albums out (and there’s more by bands like Cruachan and Waylander if you want more), and I’m pretty sure they’ll go back to their metal style after this, so it was cool to hear something different. (Finntroll similarly did an “acoustic” 3rd album, then returned to their folk-metal style for the next couple).
So, I agree with the people who commented that it sounds somewhat pop-rock, but since it retains the folk/pagan/ancient Gaelic influences of their previous recordings, it still is better and more interesting than anything you’ll hear on the radio – I mean, it would “fit in” somewhat with some modern radio, but it would still stand out and if I heard it on the radio, not knowing what it was, it would be the only thing that would interest me, and I’d run out and buy it! Overall, it’s a cool CD with an unusual and interesting sound, and I like it quite a bit. (There is actually a scene of modern folk and medieval pop/rock that this fits in pretty well with, although some of those bands have a goth/80’s/punkish rock basis that I don’t like as much).
It’s still pretty energetic, but will do for those times when you don’t want to totally rock out or scare the company, but want to listen to a little Eluveitie.
…then yeah, this is probably not the Eluveitie release for you. But I saw them last night live, and the new songs worked great up alongside Inis Mona and Uis Elveti. I actually had to listen to this release a couple times before I was feelin’ it, and now I can’t get enough, and it’s been within grabbing distance of my car stereo for months. Anna’s singing is beautiful on it, and I especially like her and Meri’s whispered vocals on a lot of the tracks. Many of these I first thought were instrumental tracks on first listen, but then realized that there’s vocals on most of the tracks, they’re just back in the mix more (in a good way). Really the only track I ever skip is track 7, which I don’t quite care for, but the rest is solid, and I think it really hangs together well as a cohesive album, with the obvious singles not sticking out too much. In other words, I didn’t really feel like there was a lot of filler, as submitted in other reviews. That said, I think the singles “Omnos” (which has a great video out for it), and “Brictom” are hooky as all get-out, and grow on you like moss. The album is acoustic, regardless of what other reviewers have said, though I think you have to compare it within the context of their other albums. No, not “MTV Unplugged” acoustic, but come on, in comparison to Slania or Spirit, it’s acoustic.
Apparently the next album is close to done, and it’s back to straight-up Eluveitie metal, so no worries if you can’t hang with this one. I think it was a nice little left turn for the band though, and it really shows them stretching their legs and broadening their sound. Meri has a solo acoustic album out there too, if you liked this release. I’ve only seen it available at their show, but it’s called “Irij”, and it’s very dark and chill.