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I have been a fan of Eluveitie since their release of Slania in 2008. That album and its predecessor, Spirit, were defining points in the history of folk metal. 2009's release of Evocation I was a nice softer side to Eluveitie, with plenty of atmospheric tracks as well as hauntingly melodic folk tracks. Then came Everything Remains (...), which was in all respects not a bad album, but it failed to capitalize on what the band was known for. It was a generic folk metal album with four instrumental breaks.
Now with their latest release of Helvetios, I find myself feeling somewhat unhappy with the release. Eluveitie are extremely talented musicians and rightly deserve the attention they receive, but Helvetios proves that more is not always better. With 17 tracks (one of which being a twenty second long break), I actually only liked 5 tracks off the entire album. Apart from the opening and closing narration, which I found to be incredibly pointless, the songs are reminiscent of their last release, only this time less spectacular.
The guitar work was, sad to say, the least of it and seemed to me they had just ripped passages from old In Flames and pasted it alongside folk tunes. The folk tunes, which I fell in love with Eluveitie for, were just...there. The entire album seemed to be just cut and pasted. The drumming is impressive and Merlin enjoys a little freestyle in the middle of the only real stand-out track, Havoc. That song stands out as being the first to have a real thrash vibe aside from the other melodic death metal tracks. Chrigel's voice is the same as it always is, but is still disappointing as he did not do many high screams as he did on Slania and Spirit.
Anna once again stands out as a rising star in Eluveitie. Her clean vocals improved rapidly since Everything Remains and her excellent screaming on The Siege is something to be admired, but overall this album came as a disappointment. I expected much more from a 2 year gap from a band that HAS the potential to do great things, but failed to reach their full potential. I'm hoping after a soft break in their next Evocation II release, Eluveitie will once again show the folk metal community why they are the best at what they do.