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Folk metal with bite! - 90%

Draedyn, July 29th, 2010

Ever since Korpiklaani released "Spirit of the Forest" I've been hooked on big band folk metal. Already being a fan of classic Scottish and Irish music I loved hearing Korpiklaani's beer swilling tunes put to distorted guitars and galloping drums, but longed for a folk metal group that could bring some anger to the genre. I believe that Eluveitie has finally mastered bringing extreme metal into folk metal with their release of "Everything Remains As It Never Was".

From the get-go this album pounds out the tunes with ferocity using a metalcore stylization to back up the magnificent folk music inspired melodies. I believe this ferocity is accomplished due to their continued use of shorter song arrangements, resulting in songs that are more poignant, and a more concerned effort to use their folk instruments throughout the song instead of saving them for long breaks. Every song on the album now feels like its point is driven home and ends just when you feel it should be complete. The “metal” in their brand of folk metal also stands out now. The guitars no longer just provide a distorted background rhythm to accompany the folk instrumentations and even if this was only accomplished by the guitarists just lifting their palms up to prevent muting then it worked. Yeah, some of the riffs sound the same, and that’s why this isn’t a 100% album, but the presentation is so much more ‘louder!’ sounding and the interspersed folk melodies make for much more interesting songs versus their previous arrangements of: metal verse + folk verse + metal verse etc…

The production is brilliant and really captures the fine equilibrium needed to present over eight instruments and voices at a time without losing a single note. There’s more atmosphere in the intros and interlude tracks, which are somewhat ‘filler’ in quality considering the core tunes of this album, but being that I am a fan of folk music I thoroughly enjoyed them and I appreciated that there were less of them on this release. Also, Christian’s vocals have improved greatly. He doesn’t sound forced like he did on “Spirit” and there is clean power to his growls now and any rasping he does sounds more organic and planned. The ladies also sound very good, as usual, and their formal singing lessons (see the albums DVD for interviews concerning this) have clearly paid off. Also, female growls are always an instant win when used properly \m/

Overall, this album was a big step up for Eluveitie. Their metal might sound a bit ‘core’, but considering they are playing folk metal and not tech-death with flutes, it serves their sound well and kicks ass! Buy it!

Notable tracks: Everything Remains As It Never Was; Thousandfold; Quoth The Raven and (Do)minion