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Folk Metal Rundown I - Slania - 73%

andrewarchav, February 15th, 2014

Oh my god, Eluveitie, my old friends, what have you lads have done? If you know me, you already know that Eluveitie has a special place in my heart. It was the first folk band that I listened. The song was Inis Mona, found in this very record. Since that fated day in the cold nights of October, 3 years ago, the search was on to buy this motherfucking record. Time passes and I manage to find all Eluveitie records, except this one. It’s 2014, and I finally found it (for an outrageous price, but at the time I was so desperate for the thing I would sell my family if I needed to) and played it in my record player.

Was it as good as I thought it was? Yeah, kinda, not really, maybe, eh…

You see; this isn’t the worst Eluveitie record. This lovable prize goes to Everything Remains… as it Never Was. However, it doesn’t mean it’s without its flaws. The first problem is quite apparent form the beginning; the production. These guys never get the production part right. Spirit was badly produced; ERAINW was under produced, and this is overproduced. Only Helvetios managed to hit the stop just right.

How overproduced is this? Remember how everyone said that Fleshgod’s Agony was overproduced, and all one could hear was the drums and some symphonies? This isn’t much different here, except for cellos and violins; there are flutes… and a violin. Another victim of the evil overproduction monster is Chrigel himself, the vocalist. His vocals seem that they passed through dozens of different enhancements, mastering and ways to make it more artificial than skittles sugar coating. It is not to say they are robotic, not at all, but it doesn’t feel right. What does feel right though, is the guitars. A definitive upgrade from the last album, they are quite audible and incredibly catchy. Too bad they are shoved off to the background most of the times to give the stage to the folk instruments; which is good, some flute riffs (is that right to say?) are very good. Nevertheless, a majority of them are booooooring.

Again, not to say that Sevan and the rest of the group are bad musicians, but the folk bits are, most of the times, unimaginative; is as if they were playing “just because”. They made a metal album, with amazing guitars and up-to-par vocals (and a drummer who sounds way louder than he should be) and remembered they were a folk band and recorded some half-assed tunes in the last minute. More often than not, that is what it’s like, but then again, some are pretty good. The fabled Inis Mona, the underrated Slania’s Song and the pounding and destructive Bloodstained Ground have, get this, great folk melodies.

Let me talk about Bloodstained Ground. For two reasons: first, it’s the fastest song here, and second, it’s the best song here. This might be because I love fast-paced songs, but this brings out the best in Eluveitie. The metal part is fantastic; the chorus is amazing, joining flutes, gutturals and double-bass pedal all the while talking about the Battle of Bibracte; Simply delightful. A great example of a bad song is Calling The Rain. The chorus is boring, and the folk part is boring. The metal part, which is the verse, are a little overdone. Chrigel’s vocals ruin fifty per cent of this song.

What is there to talk about, now? How about the Folk interludes: Aganantios and Giamonios. I could say they are boring, but they are well executed and very short, specially Giamonios. When I heard the album for the fifth or sixth time, I just skipped them. They are not too great, but not too bad either.

The album certainly has its flaws, but it is enjoyable in some extents. The best songs are Primordial Breath, Gray Sublime Archon, Bloodstained Ground, Slania's Song, and some sections of The Somber Lay.