Label : Nuclear Blast Records

Review by Tony Cannella

In the burgeoning metal sub-genre of Folk Metal, it doesn’t get much better than Eluveitie. If they are not at the top of the Folk Metal Mountain, then they’re pretty damn close. The Swiss band returns with their fifth album “Helvetios”, and from the word go, this is a relentless aural assault that pretty much is unyielding until the end comes after about 59-minutes. “Helvetios” may be Eluveitie’s most complex work to date, as the band has gone all out to raise the bar a little higher. The opening narration of “Prologue” sets up the story as the band blasts into the intense “Helvetios”. From the opening intro it is easy to discern that “Helvetios” is a concept album, you can read online what the story is about – it is far too long and complex to describe here, but as far the songs and the music goes, this is one merciless album from beginning to end. The choruses are forceful, memorable and delivered with genuine authority. Eluveitie comes at you with a powerful blend of their trademark folk-metal sound combined with Thrash-Metal like intensity. The bulk of the vocals are handled by Chrigel Glanzmann whose style is aggressive and harsh. Female vocals are present mostly for background and they really do enhance the songs, but the females in the band Anna Murphy and Meri Tadic make significant contributions besides on the vocal end of things as they add such non-traditional metal instruments as the hurdy gurdy, flute and violin, so their contributions should not go unrecognized, they are a big part of what Eluveitie does. After “Helvetios” next up is the phenomenal “Luxtos”, this is a perfect example of a song with an unforgettable chorus and one of my favorite songs. “Santonian Shores” has an upbeat, faster tempo and quickly became another favorite. Once again, a great chorus is present on this one. The female vocals are given the full spotlight and allowed to shine on “A Rose for Epona” and “Alesia”. “Alesia” in particular is phenomenal. It starts off slow like a ballad before getting heavier and the two different vocal styles (the female and male) duet on this one and it sounds just tremendous. The whole story is wrapped up nicely with the ending “Epilogue” drawing “Helvetios” to a close. Yes, Eluveitie do get mentioned in the Folk-Metal genre quite a bit. Maybe it’s deserved, maybe it’s not. There are certainly some Folk-ish elements in the songs, but that is just a part of what they do and why they are so effective (in my opinion). They don’t flaunt their Folk moments like ‘Look what we can do’; rather they utilize them when needed. “Helvetios” It is just a great album that – in my book – sets Eluveitie far apart from other bands in the genre.

Rating – 95/100

 

Tracklist

  1. Prologue
  2. Helvetios
  3. Luxtos
  4. Home
  5. Santonian Shores
  6. Scorched Earth
  7. Meet the Enemy
  8. Neverland
  9. A Rose for Epona
  10. Havoc
  11. The Uprising
  12. Hope
  13. The Siege
  14. Alesia
  15. Tullianum
  16. Uxellodunon
  17. Epilogue

 

Line Up

  • Chrigel Glanzmann – Vocals, Mandola, Mandolin, Tin & Low Whistles & Bagpipes
  • Anna Murphy – Vocals, Flute & Hurdy Gurdy
  • Meri Tadic – Vocals & Fiddle
  • Ivo Henzi – Guitars
  • Simeon Koch – Guitars
  • Kay Brem – Bass
  • Patrick Kistler – Tin & Low Whistles & Bagpipes
  • Merlin Sutter – Drums

 

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