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Fun until the novelty wears off - 75%

PorcupineOfDoom, November 2nd, 2014

Spotify really is an odd thing. Apparently this band is similar to Children of Bodom and Arch Enemy (which I can safely say isn't a very accurate assumption), but I've ended up somehow listening to bagpipes and flutes in my death metal. To be honest it was a bit of a surprise, but I'm actually kind of glad in a way that I found this. It's definitely a bit odd, but Eluveitie are certainly a unique band anyway. How many bands are there out there that combine melodic death metal with bagpipes? Not many, that's for sure. And actually, at times it does sound quite good. I was a little surprised about that, I have to admit that much, but it's certainly here to stay.

The first thing I have to say is that maybe people that don't live in countries like Scotland where you hear bagpipes every odd week might find it a little stranger than I did. Since I'll probably never get another opportunity to do so in a metal review, let's talk about the role that the bagpipes have here. They mostly blend into the background with the guitar, the flute doing the leads instead, but occasionally when everything else stops you can quite clearly hear them. Thankfully they're not annoying and out of tune like some other sets I've heard (and they get away with it because people don't know what they're meant to sound like), but they're not the traditional set that you'll hear most of the time (instead they're the Irish kind and a type from southern Europe). At least that keeps it a little fresh.

Right, now that my technical expertise is gone again, let's move onto the rest of the music. It isn't too fancy, but the unique inclusion of Celtic instruments means that it's very different even if the melodeath that seems to be the base isn't as well-refined as most of the mainstream bands in that genre. The problem is that there's only so much you can do with Celtic instruments when they're limited to playing melodeath. I love that genre, but the instruments that Eluveitie use can only stay different for so long and they're clearly not made with playing any death metal variant in mind.

Indeed, the further you go on the more the songs sound the same, and in all honesty I was quite glad that it was drawing to a close. Think of Red Hot Chilli Pipers (assuming you know who they are). They're great when you watch them for twenty to thirty minutes before a rugby match, but any longer than that and the novelty of having rock music mixed with bagpipes starts to wear off. That's exactly what I'm getting with this band, and while there are good songs on Slania they can't keep the originality running to the very end of the record.

What this means is that by the end of the album, I'm hardly paying any attention anymore. The songs at the start seem to stick out more in my mind because the idea was still interesting back at that point, and by the end I'd actually just decided to listen to Astarte instead. As a result my favourite tracks were Primordial Breath, Inis Mona and Slania's Song, nothing past that point really keeping my attention too well. Of course the other tracks were enjoyable at first as well, but those three were the ones that I liked most.

To sum it all up in one sentence, the novelty of Celtic instruments playing along with the typical melodeath ones wears off after a while. And once that happens, there really isn't that much keeping me here. As previously stated there isn't anything too technical or interesting other than the unusual instruments, so at that point I decided to leave. If you're in the mood for something different then feel free to check them out, but I wouldn't recommend listening to the entire album unless you're a big fan of folk metal.