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Like most folk metal, fun drinking music - 70%

OakenHelm, January 26th, 2010

People have a tendency to take folk metal far more seriously than it was ever intended to be. Witness all of the vitriol directed at Finntroll and Korpiklaani for all 2 of you who don't know what I'm talking about. It's a bizarre phenomenon really, as I don't think anyone ever intended or expected it to ever be elevated much above beer drinking party music. Fuck, Finntroll started as two guys getting drunk and dicking around in a studio. Folk metal was never about brutality or speed, and yet people continue to treat it as if it should. Of course, since metal is supposed to be eternally frowny-faced and/or pissed, I guess I can see why some people have such a problem with this kind of music. Then again, it's no real loss if these type of people don't listen to this stuff, since they're idiots anyway.

Slania is the second Eluveitie (that name is incredibly difficult for me to type correctly, by the way) album, and continues in the tradition of melding decent Gothenburg metal with lots of goofy (in a good way, like all good folk metal) folk instruments and a solid melodic sensibility. Songs in which the folk and metal elements are shared equally, such as the opener "Primordial Breath" as well as standout/single "Inis Mona," are the strongest, whereas the pure Gothenburg and folk tracks are pretty run of the mill, if decent. "Primordial Breath" rumbles along with a solid Amon Amarthian riff and cool little folk bits here and there, while "Inis Mona" really lets loose with the hurdy gurdy and an insanely catchy pre-chorus riff and even catchier chorus.

Christian's vocals are good a bit deeper than the usual Gothenburg rasp, and when the folk and metal mix it's a rollicking good time. Throw this in the stereo, grab a beer (or ale) and a cheap fantasy novel/video game, and you've got a good way to kill an hour or so. And that's honestly all this type of music was ever really made for. It's not supposed to be life-changing and it sure as hell isn't supposed to be brutal. Get drunk and have a blast with your buddies is pretty much the slogan for folk metal.

Unfortunately, not all of the album is able to match up to the first two songs, with the middle in particular dragging quite a bit. Eluveitie seem unsure of where they wanted to go on this album; forsaking more of their Gothenburg influence and giving the folk elements a more integral part of the songs would have made this album much better. It's weird going from goofy, swing-the-ale-along type of songs to generic In Flames worship, and breaks up the spirit of the album in a very distracting way. Eluveitie are talented and have catapulted to the front of the folk metal movement for some inexplicable reason; they're fun, but nowhere near great, which makes their success puzzling, but more power to 'em. While I'd recommend a slew of folk metal bands before these guys, they're decent enough, the production is outstanding, and they might be a good gateway for folks looking for something a little different from the typical Swedish metal affair (yeah they're Swiss, but the metal style is undeniably Swedish).

All in all, not bad