Eluveitie – Origins (2014) – Review

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Whoa, the earthy metallists are on the loose. But, do we really have a bunch of very talented people trying to destroy their music? Might there be some mighty freight train gone astray? The drummer with too much energy drink? Fiddler out of control? But – to my amusement and against my grain – I do like it, harsh vocals of Chrigel Glanzmann and all.

Origins from Eluveitie is good stuff, make no mistake. 

The album neatly follows in the footsteps of the band’s former record Helvetios. It boasts an aggressive freshness that makes you go back for seconds. Yet, it is somewhat of an addictive hate-love affair, an enigma of sorts. And, same as everything this band does, it does take some getting used to.

Their tune definitely is an acquired taste, that’s for sure. And in all fairness, their style is much more melodic than some of their counterparts. This means that hard-core Death Metal fans will most probably shun them. And they do not even paint their faces blue or pour blood all over themselves to make a point.

The Swiss band Eluveitie mix Pagan Folk with some sort of Melodic Death Metal. And this has earned them some (a lot of) fame in the scene. They like to call their style Folk Metal. And – indeed – this one has merit too. Albeit, their theme firmly hunts those pagan grounds, runes and rituals included. So, whilst – technically – the Folk Metal label may be accurate, pagan is their game. And the old gods Eluveitie seek are the fame.

The lyrics and texts on Origins chiefly seem to deal with old Helvetic and Celtic times. A time when Caesar ruled and the tribes did not.

But then why are the various intros and outros in some sort of Swiss German tainted Scottish dialect? This just sounds terrible – like Braveheart on a friggin’ bad day. Next thing we know, the folks over at Eluveitie ARE going to paint your faces blue, yelling freedom on every occasion. As we opined on other records already, this is a waste of space that could be put to better use by some more – music. But back to Origins, the record.

The first real song hits hard with The Nameless. This track takes its cues gamely from that monologue at the beginning. So, at least some good came out of that. I do like the powerful From Darkness and Celtos. Both are expertly structured and executed.

As almost always, Eluveitie inject some highly marketable tune into their record. This time the odd one out is Call of the Mountains. My evil twin whispers that Eluveitie produced this track solely to attract some mainstream listeners. You know, that song for the gullible masses. Those tend to fancy a more melodic tune, not having it constantly disturbed by growls and mad piping.

And truly, this track sounds like something any of the ubiquitous folk gigs would produce on one of their rockier days. Yet, Anna Murphy beautifully interprets the song. Which kinda saves the day and renders the piece worth for some extended viral fame to go. Origins is also the last full-length record with Murphy as a member of the band. She went on to found Cellar Darling with some of her former bandmates.

King reigns supreme. This track is definitely the centerpiece, melodic and harsh at the same time. Hot and cold, just the way I would expect it from this group of merry men and women.

This track – I suspect – also has the potential to climb the charts further. And thus, also saw the light of day with the idea of the mainstream in mind. Albeit the track is limited by the interpretation, which might prove a fare too harsh already for this specific audience.

To conclude, Origins projects love and hate close together. You get the quality, dig the tune, yet things might be a bit too harsh for ye. On the other hand, there is a certain cookie-cutter effect on this 2014 piece. And that doesn’t really help either. Yet, the record definitely turned out to be juicier than Helvetios. But it nevertheless lacks quality if compared to records like Everything Remains (as it never was).

So, have we got ourselves a run-of-the-mill Eluveitie album? Quite, this is arcane comfort food of sorts. Yet at high levels of quality, with that typical Helvetic twist that we love.

Ed’s note: If you would like to find out what Eluveitie has been up to at RMR, read this.

Record Rating: 7/10 | Label: Nuclear Blast Records | Web: Official Site
Release date: 1 August 2014

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