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Not A Far Cry From The First Two - 80%

Basilisk, March 9th, 2010

Folk metal isn’t a trend for me; it’s a wonderful thing, a union of two great types of music, and a celebration of one’s heritage. There are some bands that just jump on the bandwagon because it looks like it will take them in a good direction. Eluveitie aren’t one of these bands, in fact they’re more like one of the horses pulling the wagon. Their first album, ‘Spirit,’ was an epic achievement and it can be hard to compare to that if just for the pure novelty associated with it. It’s easier to compare ‘Everything Remains’ to their second album, ‘Slania’ with it’s crisp shredding and tight hooks harkening to the Gothenburg death metal sound, adorned with a healthy dose of articulate folk instruments including violin, pipes, flutes, and hurdy-gurdy.

The folk instruments contribute to the Swiss Celtic sound that does homage to their Helvetii heritage, an atmosphere that is also aided by the inclusion of clean female vocals and the occasional chanted verse. The folk and acoustic melodies, mixed together with crunchy riffs and harsh vocals, is a tasty concoction. There are also a few pure folk songs, these being the intro, Otherworld (which is more of an ambience piece that leads you into the album), Isara and Setlon (Setlon is fucking amazing by the way) are fairly fast folk pieces with drums and bass (but no vocals or heavy guitars), and the last song, The Liminal Passage, is mainly a pipe piece with some other instruments also appearing at the right moments. The style of the rest of the songs you’ll be familiar with if you’ve heard their first two albums. They pretty much picked up where ‘Slania’ left off. I have no problem with this as I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Slania’ so ‘Everything Remains’ gives me more material of the same vein to enjoy. The folky breakdowns that occur around middle of the songs can still make me get up and whip out an involuntarily-induced head-banging session, no problem.

There’s a lot of solid material on this album, but at the same time you get the slight feeling that this album is missing something that was on their previous ones. It’s not really distracting, but it’s there. Maybe it’s the mainstream-style mixing that’s throwing me off, maybe it’s the absence of the Kirder brothers (I saw Eluveitie live in 2008, they gave a wicked performance, stole the show at Paganfest 08 and the Kirder bros definitely helped contribute to that. It’s too bad they left the band). That being said, there’s still a lot of solid material on this album. My favourite songs here are probably Nil, Lugdunon, The Essence of the Ashes, and Setlon. As it were, I’ve been cheering for Eluveitie since the beginning. I was excited when they got picked up by a big label (even though this would inevitably take its toll on the organic sound quality they had with ‘Spirit’). I appreciate the music they have made thus far and I support the decisions they make as artists of their craft. I came to this album with a positive mindset and I wasn’t disappointed.