Filed under: Releases of the Week | Tags: album reviews, Dark Tranquillity, Eluveitie, Everything Remains As It Never Was, Releases of the Week, Slania
PREVIEW: VISIT Eluveitie’s MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 14/20 Watts
The title of Eluveitie’s new album says it all: Everything Remains As It Never Was. The Swiss folk metal heroes keep up the basic foundation of their sound, but present it differently than on any of their previous albums. And while here, “differently” doesn’t always mean “better,” the album is still a rewarding listen and a refreshing departure from most contemporary metal sounds.
More so than the band’s previous albums, Everything Remains divides the folk and metal elements into their own groups of songs. Instead of a dozen brutal metal songs that happen to have bagpipes and flutes in the background, we get a few intense sections followed up with calmer, folk-oriented interludes. The result is an almost storytelling quality that recalls the group’s 2008 masterpiece, Slania.
It’s a testament to the band’s musicianship that they can pull both off so well. Credit the folk players in particular (violinist Meri Tadic, hurdy-gurdist Anna Murphy and bagpiper Päde Kistler) for adding a greater sense of melody to the project than the band’s ever had before. In lighter moments like “Isara,” they carry the songs themselves, but even on heavier numbers like “Sempiternal Embers” they combine with singer Chrigel Glanzmann’s relentless growls better than ever, and prevent the band from sounding too much like Dark Tranquillity clones.
But Everything Remains is far from perfect. The lead single, “Thousandfold,” while not a bad listen, rips off the song structure of Eluveitie’s past classic “Inis Mona” almost exactly – even down to the performance of the last chorus in a different key. On top of this, the album’s final two tracks end it on a bit of a sour note. “Lugdunon” is easily the band’s weakest song to date – a slow, plodding and downright boring track that lacks the ferocity the band has become known for. And despite the sheer beauty of “The Liminal Passage,” it doesn’t exactly close things out with the bang you’d expect from Eluveitie.
For the most part, though, Everything Remains does what it needs to do, and it does so quite well. It may not attract new fans to the fold as easily as Slania did, but for those already on board, it certainly won’t disappoint.