Eluveitie’s 6th album doesn’t reach the glory of earlier releases

Swiss folk metal band Eluveitie has gone through some changes over the 12 years of their existence. Started as a studio project by band leader and mastermind Christian ‘Chrigel’ Zimmermann in 2002, the band released their first EP ‘Ven’ in 2003. Only after this release and the following positive reaction from press and fans the band decided to play their first live shows. These days Eluveitie is known as a relentlessly touring band. The 8-piece just won the Swiss Music Award in the category ‘Best Live Band National’ which is clearly a testimonial for their efforts over the last few years.

Now the band has released their sixth studio album on Nuclear Blast. The record starts with the narrative intro ‘Origins’ and then continues with the driving opener ‘The Nameless’. ‘The Nameless’ sets the scene for the remaining 15 songs: typical Eluveitie-style folk metal that ranges from melodic death metal of the Gothenburg-school to epic harmonies to (Celtic) folk music. Besides classic modern instruments the band makes again intensive use of historic instruments like violin, mandola, hurdy gurdy and several different flutes. And here is the first problem I have with ‘Origins’. Eluveitie make too much use of historic instruments. Most of the songs have an overwhelming sound of constant fiddling. This creates more a Riverdance feeling to this record. Overall, it seems the band is trying too hard. Especially, the faster songs like ‘The Nameless’ or ‘Inception’ appear to be too fast. This is a comment I do not make lightly as a fan and follower of extreme metal for 30 years. The speed of these songs let the historic and modern instruments divert from each other. To put it simply: the songs don’t groove. As soon as the band puts the brakes on, the tracks start to gel. Songs like ‘Celtos’ and ‘King’ are the quality that you would expect on an Eluveitie album. Unfortunately these moments are quite rare on ‘Origins’.

The production is spot on. The album has been produced by the band and co-produced by Tom Vetterli (Kreator etc). The lyrics are interesting and are set in a medieval/Celtic scenery. The song writing is sound but Eluveitie don’t risk anything with this album. It lacks drive and energy. The 62-minute record culminates in the pop-metal song ‘Call Of The Mountain’. The obvious attempt to attract a wider audience to Eluveitie doesn’t appear to be genuine. Eluveitie risks offending their followers in the attempt to attract the mass market. If it will pay off only time will tell.

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