Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Eluveitie - Helvetios

Eluveitie has been in my music collection since late 2009 when I got Slania. When the band posted the music video for their (at the time) brand new song, Thousandfold, I went to Nuclear Blast and pre-ordered Everything Remains as it Never Was. That statement alone should tell you how quickly and strongly this band has pulled me (and millions of other people) into their one-of-a-kind musical universe of beauty and tranquility. But using big words and writing like I’m some kind of Canadian fantasy novelist isn’t going to get my point across. This is (yet again) one of those times where I thought “these guys can’t POSSIBLY get any better than this!” and was proved wrong when the next album was released. For those of you that aren’t familiar with Eluveitie, here’s a really good description of their sound: if you’re at all familiar with European folk music, you’re aware that there is the really ambient and melodic folk, and the really upbeat and happy folk (most notably as being used by Korpiklaani). Eluveitie takes the atmospheric and melodic European folk music and fuses it with melodic death metal. Although they do far more than just fusing those two completely different genres, that’s the blueprint that they build 90% of their songs off of.

As far as the sound of everything on the record, it sounds almost EXACTLY like their 2010 album. Not necessarily a bad thing, but don’t expect the instruments to sound any different than Everything Remains. Probably a difference that sound nerds would notice is that this album has a butt-ton more bass than Everything Remains. As well as that, the majority of the music sounds just like Everything Remains. Here’s why I don’t consider this a bad thing: it’s perfectly fine if a band makes two albums in a row that have the same sound as long as the THIRD album sound different. There is such a thing as too much change because it kind of makes it hard to keep up with. I actually like it when bands release two albums in a row that have the same basic sound…but only if the sound is AMAZING.

And the sound IS amazing! The musicians seem to have improved their instrumental and technical skills to make the music sound more complex. That’s the biggest twist this album has that sets it apart from all the previous ones; this album is one of their more technical releases. And yes, I know that there are other songs from previous albums that are very fast and very technical; but as an album in its whole, Helvetios seems more complex, especially in the folk instruments. That’s another thing I forgot to mention! The folk instruments aren’t in the background anymore!! Instead, they’re either right beside the guitars or in the very front of the line next to the vocalist. And speaking of that Swiss, folk-loving metal vocalist with the super-long dreads; his vocals have improved dramatically (and I thought he had reached perfection in Everything Remains!).

Remember that one song from Everything Remains, Quoth the Raven, where the female violinist sang and even let out an ear-splitting scream? Well guess what, apparently the band liked that and decided to put her singing in most of the songs on Helvetios. If you want a text description of what her SCREAMS sound like, they sound a hell of a lot like Lacey from Flyleaf (whose screams are phenomenal). As far as individual songs go, I’m not going to go into TOO much depth because I want you to get the damn album. BUT, if you were to ask me my favorites, at the moment my favorites are the second and third tracks; but all of the songs are amazing! I would give this album 19/20.