Review Summary: Not exactly melo-death and heavier than folk but fans of both genres will enjoy it.
Eluveitie consists of eight members. A vocalist/flute player, two guitarists, a bassist, a drummer, a violinist, a bagpiper player and a woman that plays something called a hurdygurdy. They play a combination of melodic death metal and Celtic folk music. All that sounds like a gigantic mess on paper doesn't it? Don't worry, once you actually listen to their, you might have discovered your new favorite band.
A quick description of their sound is Dark Tranquillity with Celtic folk instruments. Vocalist Chrigel Glanzmann's rough, growled vocals sounds almost identical to Dark Tranquillity's Mikael Stane. He also has a couple spots where he does clean vocals like in "Grey Sublime Archon." An interesting thing is that he provides the flute melodies for the band as well which are a key part of their music. The guitar work is very reminiscent of At The Gates. Fast, heavy, melodic riffs but nothing super technical. All of the other instruments make up for the guitar work such as the violin and bagpipe melodies played by Meri Tadic and Sevan Kirder, respectfully.
Slania opens up with "Samon" which is basically an intro track used to create atmosphere. It's flows into "Primordial Breath," one of the faster and heavier songs on the album. Songs like this and "Bloodstained Ground" are more reminiscent of Gothenburg melodic death metal. They are heavy, fast-paced and mostly sung with harsh vocals. There are slower, more melodic tracks like "Inis Mona" and "Anagantios," the latter being an interlude. "Inis Mona" is the most melodic song on the album that isn't an interlude, as well as one of the catchiest. It is followed by the forementioned "Bloodstained Ground" which contrasts it as it is probably the heaviest song on the album. This song would fit perfectly on the soundtrack of a Mideval fantasy movie, particually during a battle scene. The most interesting song on Slania is "Slanias Song" which is sung in Gaelic with mostly female vocals. It sounds nearly like an ancient chant and gives the album a very unique edge that separates them from others in the melodic death metal and folk metal scene. The album closer, "Elembivos" is mostly instrumental with the only vocals being a few lines of what might be a prayer or another chant. It ends the album beautifully it almost feels like you're at the end of an epic movie or battle scene staring at what's left of everything.
Eluvietie are a completely different giant from everyone else in melodic death metal and folk metal. There aren't many melo-death bands that use folk instruments and they are much heavier than a lot of folk metal bands. It's almost as if they stand alone in their own genre. Not exactly melo-death and heavier than folk but fans of both genres will enjoy it. Not exactly sure what to call this but needless to say, they made an excellent album with Slania, one of the best metal albums of the year so far.
Favorite Tracks: Bloostained Ground, Primordial Breath, Slainias Song, Tarvos