Sometimes it’s amazing how far a studio project can take you. Eluveitie is a great example of this. Initially formed in 2002 by leading man Chrigel Glanzmann as just that, the band have gone on to release five studio albums (four of which have been via Nuclear Blast), have more band members than most people have had hot dinners and take, what they call, the ‘new wave of folk metal’ all around the world. Tomorrow sees the release of their sixth effort, Origins, the first record to feature new members Rafael Slazmann on guitar and Nicole Asperger on violin and produced by the legendary Tommy Vetterli, who has previously worked with Kreator and Coroner.
Let’s make one thing clear right from the start – Eluveitie are in a class of one. Although they’re definitely not the only folk metal band in existence, they’re certainly the most melodic and their vast array of instruments used – from the bagpipes to the hurdy gurdy – allow them the freedom to infuse crushing riffs with the Celtic strains of flutes and whistles. Secondly, they don’t always sing in English – a sizeable chunk are in Gaulish, the ancient language of France. But before you begin to associate them with Asterix and fob them off as a novelty act, listen to the music. The album’s opening is very akin to previous release Helvetios – an atmospheric opening with the sounds of rushing water and a Scottish spoken word introduction, building into heavy guitars and drums as the title track become The Nameless but never losing the flutes and pipes over the top. From Darkness begins with a very joyful Celtic jig before joining the same vein as above, whilst Celtos sees Gaulish lyrics and the stunning voice of vocalist/hurdy gurdy player Anna Murphy for the first time, who is a great foil for Glanzmann’s harsh tones. Indeed, it is her lead vocals on The Call of the Mountain that make it one of the best tracks on the album. Okay, so it does get a little same-y after a while and it’s very long at 16 songs, but there’s enough on offer to satisfy everyone – songs like Inception and The Silver Sister will do enough to get heads banging furiously whilst The Day of Strife incorporates a choir and even more flute/pipe work. Furthermore, it’s another feather in the cap of Glanzmann who has become a leading light in what can be achieved if you persevere to the hilt. Closing track Carry the Torch is a wonderful end and as the strains of Eternity, the epilogue to Origins fade away, you’re finally brought back to the present day.
Catch them on tour this Autumn at all costs – you won’t have seen a band like Eluveitie in your life, I promise. And if you have, it’s because you’ve already seen Eluveitie live. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to buy a hurdy gurdy.
Chrigel Glanzmann – vocals, mandola, whistles, pipes, gaita, acoustic guitar, bodhrán, harp
Merlin Sutter – drums
Ivo Henzi – rhythm guitar
Anna Murphy – hurdy gurdy, vocals
Kay Brem – bass guitar
Patrick “Päde” Kistler – bagpipes, whistles
Rafael Slazmann – lead guitar
Nicole Ansperger – violin
2. The Nameless
3. From Darkness
7. The Call of the Mountains
11. The Silver Sister
13. The Day of Strife
15. Carry the Torch
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