Nuclear Blast Records
Release: April 5, 2019
When it comes to folk metal, people see Eluveitie as the face of the genre in front of others acts for more than a decade. Starting in 2002, in the rural mysticism of the Swiss alps and since a very early point deeply rooted within Celtic mythology, Gaulish history and proto-European culture. From their fabled 2006 debut “Spirit”, theirs was an approach of respect, historic accuracy, depth and the most thrilling, catchy, primordial mélange of melodic death metal and pagan folk the world could have ever imagined. Since then, Eluveitie have long become folk metal’s trailblazers, spin-doctors and rightful masters of their craft. All the more because they never limited themselves to simple forays through rune-decorated clichés or foolish drinking songs.
Success, was not far behind. Their groundbreaking seminal work “Slania” saw them bond with Nuclear Blast, a friendship that lasts to this day and quickly turned the band into a worldwide phenomenon. In a rapid two-year-succession, they unleashed “Everything Remains (As It Never Was)”, “Helvetios” and that massive monument of all things folk metal called “Origins”, framed by the two elaborate and archaic acoustic albums “Evocation I – The Arcane Dominion” and “Evocation II – Pantheon”, the last of which was also presented on an unforgettable acoustic tour. On each release, they refined their trademark brand of Chrigel’s thundering roar, metallic fierceness and folkloric ingenuity that has always been miles above the usual “let’s add some bagpipes there”.
Black Water Dawn
A Cry in the Wilderness
The Raven Hill
The Silvern Glow
Mine is the Fury
Members came, members went. The soul of Eluveitie, though, the very essence of this pagan congregation remained undisturbed. Now, in the dawn of 2019, they look back upon an impressive seven studio albums, the last of which climbed to the very top of the Swiss album charts and also made a remarkable entry at No. 6 in Germany, as well as countless tours around the globe and headliner slots at the biggest Metal festivals. Still, this was only the beginning. A 13-year-overture for the things about to come. The sky is darkening, the ravens fly. Finally, everything is prepared for the colossal voice of the ages that is “Ategnatos”.
Moving on to the album, like previous releases of Eluveitie, the album opens up with narration with a movie-like score of a folk build up, grabbing the attention of my ears for something big heading coming it’s way. The true sounds of “Ategnatos” reveals itself with big entrance of metal and folk intertwining as the flute and the Gaulish chants bring in the rustic l atmosphere. The song picks up the pace with fast-paced of the electrifying guitar and the hard-beating tight drums while being complimented with “beauty and the beast” vocals. Following the first track, “Ancus” is a spoken Latin interlude to the next song “Deathwalker”, that begins with a solo by the proven successor of Anna Murphy, Michalina Malisz, who’s hurdy-gurdy acts as the main driving force in the song that brings in barrage of crunchy rhythm guitar and tight pummeling drums with 'beauty and the beast' vocals by our favorite folk duo in the quick-paced melodic chorus, while “Black Water Dawn” has a more bouncy feel to it, like a jig you might say.
“A Cry in the Wilderness” hits you like a stampede as Ackermann's awesome drumming it running you over. A headbanging hit you can say for this track as band’s pummels you with heavy talents onto you. “The Raven Hill” is a big reminiscent to their popular song “Inis Mona” due it’s similar infectious melody, but with more of the heavier works. “The Silvern Glow” is a instrumental that serves as the bridge to the previous and following track. As the tin whistle prances through the song along the acoustic strings, I can't help myself picturing folkloric creatures coming out to dance in a forest as we head into “Ambiramus”. Considered to be more of a “poppy” song in the album, but it’s damn well catchy with Matteo Sisti taking the lead with a whistle solo and with beautiful vocal melodies.
At this part of the part of the review, it’s safe to group the following songs of the second half of the album; “Mine is the Fury”, “Worship” and “Rebirth”. The heavy-hitting tracks of melodic death metal brutality at epic folk proportions as the thunderous grows intensifies that dark energy, while “The Slumber” and “Breathe” tones down the music with more of their lighter side in music performance as Erni shines her way through these two songs with her sublime singing and impressive belts.
“Trinoxtion” is another introduction track, opening to the sounds of rain until transitioning “Three Fold Death” which has this back and forth theme between the two vocalist; folk with Fabienne and death metal with Chrigel, and the final track “Eclipse” is a simple but raw Celtic closing track to the new album.
After finishing the album, I can tell Eluveitie doesn’t ever planning on slowing down as being the face of folk metal, it’s louder and harder then the last release and I wonder where will they from “Ategnatos”. Overall, the album receives a 9/10!
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Chrigel Glanzmann – harsh vocals, whistles, mandola, bagpipes, bodhrán
Kay Brem – bass
Rafael Salzmann – lead guitars
Matteo Sisti – tin whistles, bagpipes
Nicole Ansperger – violin, backing vocals
Jonas Wolf – rhythm guitars
Alain Ackermann – drums
Michalina Malisz – hurdy-gurdy
Fabienne Erni – clean vocals, Celtic harp