The 2010 studio album Everything Remains (As it Never Was) from the Swiss Pagan Metal band Eluveitie clearly proved to be an improvement over the already pretty good former production Slania. And yes, I know, there was Evocation I in between. But this one doesn’t really count, it’s an unplugged piece far away from metal.
Now, this new record is much more melodious but still fosters enough aggressive Melodic Death Metal at its core to convince. And they deliver their tune in an improved, but still decidedly own household style and brand. This time, we can actually hear Anna Murphy‘s hurdy-gurdy, fiddles, and flutes. And – to my relief – they kinda got rid of the screeching bagpipes that got to me on other records.
The few tracks more reminiscent of former (and future) creations of Eluveitie are refreshingly pure, crunchy Melodic Death Metal-infused Pagan Metal. Delivered aggressively, with teeth-gnashing growls to warm our cold metal hearts. And I love the switch from harsh vocals to a clear vocal chorus in some of the tracks.
Chrigel Glanzmann deserves a lot of credit to let this change happen, creating a much more fluid type of tune. He still gets off nicely with a load of aptly delivered harsh vocals, make no mistake. And finally, Anna Murphy‘s action range is way more front-center which is a distinct improvement.
Eluveitie took a chance with the folk instrumentals that usually form part of their records. Remain (As it Never Was) contains two of them. Isara – an outstanding piece of Pagan Folk – and Setlon. Those add nice counterweights to the heavier moments on of the record. Yet, the jury’s still out on the second track. Filler or not, that is the question.
Now, whilst the guitar work definitely improved, you (still) won’t find any great solos to speak off. The one on Lugdunon may be the most remarkable one. On the other hand, this might not necessarily be the strength of this band neither. So, if you’re an avid consumer of solitary guitar explorations, Everything Remains might not be your cuppa.
Apart from a much more melodic approach to Eluveitie‘s metal, the record offers nothing new and surprising in style. If anything, the record rockets down the stony road of Pagan Metal. And it is a stepping stone in developing their very own trademark. Believe me, their music is no easy fare, it will demand your time and devotion to pick up all the nuances. Will that turn it into Folk Metal for nerds? Well, no, not quite. But we’re getting close.
Apart from the suspected filler, you won’t find any really bad tracks here. The best metal contributions are Everything Remains (As it Never Was) – the title track and Thousandfold1). The Essence of Ashes dazzled us with an insane chorus, and Kingdom Come Undone, (Do) Minion, and Sempiternal Embers come highly recommended.
Quoth the Raven has its merits, made palatable by the inclusion of some clear vocals from Murphy with some haunting lyrics that just tightly fit. This track got quite some acclaim across the fan base. Yet, I daresay that it never quite clicked with this crew here.
Ultimately, Everything Remains (As it Never Was) is a cool Pagan and Folk Metal album. The record sports a much better flow and a pretty intricate tracklist, interchanging quieter moments – the instrumentals for instance – with insane arcane activity. All tracks deliver with a metal punch that will make their brothers in crime pale with envy.
This creates a slab of metal that could easily have its spot on any metal playlist with a historical trait out there. Will the record prove to be the best in view of Eluveitie‘s future contributions to the Pagan and Folk Metal universe? Maybe so – and this will of course depend on the always subjective views of fans and experts. We can say – however – that Everything Remains truly is a stepping stone for the typical Eluveitie sound that will win them many additional fans in the future to come.
Ed’s note: This review replaces the version of June 2017. And if you would like to find out what Eluveitie has been up to at RMR, read this.
|1.||The one with the video.|