Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Eluveitie - Everything Remains as it Never Was

When you first hear about it, you think “melodic death metal mixed with European folk? That can’t possibly work!” The genre commonly known as “folk metal” has been around for about ten or so years. During that time, a handful of bands have risen from that area to become very successful, such as Korpiklaani, Ensiferum, Finntroll, Turisas, and Eluveitie. Most of these bands are from Finland (all of the bands I just listed are Finnish except for Eluveitie). I never really thought that a mix of those two genres could work out very well, that is, until I heard Inis Mona by Eluveitie. When I heard that song, I was instantly hooked…but the rest of that album wasn’t as impressive as I was expecting; it was actually a bit disappointing. But that didn’t mean I gave up on them, I got their other stuff, but none of their other albums gave me that buzzy feel that Inis Mona gave me, so I still listened to their other albums and discovered other folk metal bands while I waited for the new Eluveitie record.

Honestly, all you have to do is listen to their music to be able to tell why they’re on Nuclear Blast. Pretty much only the amazing bands get on Nuclear Blast, and (most the time) the best out of those that get enlisted end up staying on the roster. 2010 was a great year for the Nuclear Blast label, with amazing records such as Mnemic’s Sons of the System, Soilwork’s The Panic Broadcast, Exodus’ Exhibit B, Sabaton’s Coat of Arms, Death Angel’s Relentless Retribution, Keep of Kalessin’s Reptilian, and MANY more, Everything Remains as it Never Was got added to the list.

Eluveitie made a big change that made their music a lot better. They turned up the volume on their guitars, but they turned up the volume on their folk instruments even louder. So basically, they’ve put a lot more emphasis on their folk sound to give their music a really mystical, old European feeling. There are even some songs at the end of the album that are just bagpipes, my favorite being The Otherworld Set. You can actually hear that chick’s hurdy gurdy in this album! I never even knew that they had one until I saw the Inis Mona music video (yes people, I know what a hurdy gurdy is). But if you listen to songs like Thousandfold and Setlon, the hurdy gurdy stands out.

On top of having more folk in their music, the metal part is even more metal. When I say that, I mean that it’s faster, heavier, and louder. There is a lot more fast drumming (I bet their drummer had a lot of fun recording this). For those of you that want to hear the heavier side of this album, listen to the song Kingdom Come Undone. I saw a video of them playing this song live and the moshpit was pretty damn huge. But even though there’s a lot more of a metal sound, the folk instruments balance it out perfectly so that it still has the traditional Eluveitie vibe. I also think that the vocals are a lot better in this album.

I think that their vocalist has really taken some time to work on the sound of his mid-range growls and his high-pitched screams. They sound a lot cleaner and it’s easy to tell that he’s not straining himself on any of the parts. I also think that all of the changes in the music have made the music match and sound better along with his growls. Because before, his vocals didn’t really fit the music as well as it does now. Of course, sticking to European fantasy and folk tales is what the vocalist puts in his lyrics, but he also tells stories of death, darkness, and depression.

The most unique song off of this album is Quoth the Raven. This song is an extremely enjoyable listen mainly because of the chorus, where the mid-range growls are backed up by one of the female members’ singing. This song is also one of those slower songs, but still with a thick and heavy beat, if you don’t see what I’m getting at, I’m talking about headbanging. I also love the very powerful and emotional sound of Thousandfold. Although it may not appear that way in the music video, but the entire band has claimed that this song stirs more emotions within them than any other song has. And I sort of know what they mean, because I get that powerful stir of emotions whenever I listen to this song (as well as the urge to

This is an album that I certainly don’t listen to as much as I should. Maybe it’s because the whole folk metal thing isn’t one of the genres that sticks out to me the most. But I’ll tell you, when I do listen to this album, I love it. I actually bought the CD when I was down in southern Florida last summer, so I can say that I’ve thrown in some money to support the band and the label. Another thing that I would like to add is that there is this guy that goes to a lot of the metal shows that I go to, although I never see him outside of the venues, we’ve gotten to know each other a bit. He only owns one metal band shirt, and it’s an Eluveitie shirt. And I was thinking of getting it because it’s their 2010 world tour shirt, and the list of dates on the back is so big that the font size is so small that it’s barely readable! This album gets a solid 19/20. Look this up if you haven’t yet, it’s worth it.