Eluveitie – “Origins” (Nuclear Blast Records)
Folk metal comes of age! Despite not being one of the pioneer bands in the genre this Swiss nonet (a nine piece – ed) have meteorically risen in the last few years to become the champions of folk metal, even winning a Swiss Music Award for ‘Best Live Act National’. Witnessing the electric effect of their performance at this year’s Hellfest was proof positive! Using traditional instruments like the Hurdygurdy, Bodhràn, Tin & Low – and of course, plenty of whistles and pipes – Eluveitie (whose name is derived from an Etruscan inscription) take their sound from a suave blending of Celtic Folk and melodic death metal. Mixing a variety of vocal styles from the brutal / clean male vocals of founder Christian ‘Chrigel’ Glanzmann with flowing femme harmonies songs like ‘Vianna’, ‘The Call Of The Mountains’ and ‘Carry The Torch’ are taken into epic levels by the sophisticated musicianship allowing those irresistible Celtic melodies to dance and tease as the more modern and harder rock metal elements accompany and support them magnificently. There are many bands around that certainly use similar styles, but few that can pull it off as impressively as Eluveitie do by making them sound as one – no doubt two and a half years of solid touring has done wonders! Compared to its predecessor “Helvetios”, this album is a definite step up to a higher musical level although production wise the sound remains similar in being natural but big enough to encompass the full range of instruments. Beyond the commendable complexity of the material, including some songs being sung in ancient Gaulish, it’s Eluveitie’s ability to convey their passion and moreover the underlying spirit of their music that really takes this band beyond the pack and confident enough to proclaim: Eluveitie – The New Wave Of Folk Metal!