Review Summary: Everything remains as it was last time.
A Swiss octet raging war through the musical output of guitar distortion, lovely female melodies, Mikael Stanne-esque death growls, and hurdy gurdies sounds really questionable, and, taking into consideration the time period we now live in, utterly impractical. However, let’s give it up for Eluveitie for how well they have been able to bend our initial presuppositions of doubt into some vague sense of awe and wonder at their Gaelic antics and impersonations. The earthly folk of their debut Spirit
and, let’s just be honest here, the commercial-sounding take off that was 2008’s Slania
have both done their part in cementing the band at the top of the tier with death folk-metal greats, such as the renowned Equilibrium or Finnish Ensiferum, and suffice it to say--despite the setback inclusion of the questionably light-sounding Evocation I
to the band’s discography--anticipation for this year’s Everything Remains As It Never Was
has begun to reach magnitudes that could very well register on the Richter scale.
begins with whispered lines from, who is reasonable to assume to be, either hurdy gurdy player Anna Murphy or violinist Meri Tadic:‘What is; what was; what is to come.
’ Promising, mysterious, and having to deal with the general thesis of Eluveitie’s new album, the words segue us into the first aggressive onslaught that is the title track--think “Calling The Rain” from the last album. The first thing newcomers or present fans will encounter when entering the fray of Eluveitie's new album is Chrigel Glanzmann’s likable snarl that is akin to the voice of Mikael Stanne. Sonically, having to deal with the frontman’s timbre that is, his vocals remain largely unchanged, and the melodies that many fell in love with on Slania
return here as well. The Stanne worship may be too much for some, true, but as far as imparting emotion in the English/Gaelish lyrics of the songs go, Chrigel couldn’t have asked for a better voice. Album highlights like the surging “Kingdom Come Undone”, catchy "The Essence of the Ashes" and “Sempiternal Embers” will rival the likes of “Primordial Breath” and “Gray Sublime Archon” for crowd favorites at future concerts, not because of instrumental prowess, because they are founded on the firm foundation of the war-waging snarl of Chrigel and his lovely vocal melodies and the sing-a-long harmonies from the rest of the band.
The biggest disappointment when assessing Everything Remains[…]
, that actually can’t be heard having not listened to Eluveitie’s past albums, is the lack of instrumental improvements. I typically don’t take off points for this, but, especially when you have eight members to work with, a band like this should be able to make a dense-sounding product. The same galloping, Gothenberg riffs return, and yes, the lovely violin of Meri Tadic and the pipes of vocalist Chrigel Glanzmann are here as well, but when it gets down to it, not too much has changed since Slania
; there's not much left under the guitar gallops and the added Celtic flutes. The biggest pet peeve that I have with this band, however, is this over-abundant use of instrumental interludes that have been known to take up the space of three to four tracks of Eluveite’s past efforts. “Otherworld”, “Isara”, the pointless “Setlon”, and the underwhelming end that is “The Liminal Passage” play this disappointing part on this album;however, what is even more disappointing about Everything Remains[…]
's instrumental tracks is that there is nothing that even comes close to the epic conclusion that was Slania
’s “Elembivos”. What is made to look like a substantial album is really just comprised of nine solid tracks with four tracks of needless instrumental filler.
is created to sound brutal and, as we would expect given the band’s obsession with war-like lyrical escapades, appropriately war-like; however, those familiar with the blending of folk and death genres--or the black subgenre as well--won’t be fooled with what the band are doing here. Dark Tranquillity-esque commercialism is in your face from the get go--as was the case with 2008 Slania
--so those hesitant to approach Eluveitie because of the switch of stylistic styles that took place between 2006 and 2008 will still remain disappointed. Melodic death fans, on the other hand, will find plenty to devour here and sing along to. When it comes down to it, Everything Remains[…]
could really just be rechristened Slania Part 2
, or, if you want to be cute, Everything Remains As It Was Last Time