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If you like Göthenburg, and you like folk, then... - 75%

HugeTheConqueror, September 22nd, 2008

Eluveitie describe their sound as “traditional, authentic Celtic folk music combined in a unique way with modern styled Melodic Death Metal, strongly influenced by the 'Göthenburg Sound.'” The truth here really lies in the reverse, as Göthenburg, rather than being an “influence,” actually serves as the foundation around which all of the other elements on “Slania” have been arranged.

Following a folk introductory track, the album kicks in with melodic riffing and scream vocals that are textbook Göthenburg. Eluveitie are obvious fans of the sound, and they implement it well here. This album is so steeped in the Göthenburg tradition that it could easily be mistaken for early In Flames were it not for the folk elements, which magnificently set this album apart. Fully half of the band's members play traditional instruments on this release, including mandola, fiddle, hurdygurdy, bagpipes, tin whistles, and Irish flute, among others. All of these feature prominently in the arrangements, and, when utilized in conjunction with the female vocals that are interspersed with the the aforementioned Death vox, create a textured, unique approach to Göthenburg.

The integration of folk and metal here can best be described as “layered.” Melodeath riffing and percussion dominate the rhythm, with the folk instruments supplying the melody over the top. In fact, elimination of the folk portions would leave behind a competent and coherent, if somewhat unremarkable, example of Swedish Melodic Death Metal. There is certainly nothing wrong with this approach, and as mentioned, Eluveitie have incorporated these folk melodies to great effect. However, those listeners expecting folk rhythm to make an appearance via the modern instruments a la Finntroll or Korpiklaani may be a bit disappointed.

Overall, Eluveitie have put together a fine release, one that pushes the boundaries of a musical style that has been around for several years. Fans of Göthenburg will enjoy this, and will likely appreciate the band's fresh take on the sound. Fans of folk and pagan metal may like this, but most likely only of they also like Göthenburg.