Review Summary: Tipping the balance in favour of the heavier side of the scale.Everything Remains As It Never Was
manages to be a consistent and satisfying chapter in the Eluveitie story. Depending more heavily on the metal component than previous releases, especially in comparison to the immediately preceding album, Evocation I
, the album contains some of Eluveitie’s heaviest and most aggressive work. Possibly the greatest example of this newfound reliance on harder-hitting material is present on ‘Kingdom Come Undone’, which, while including a well –executed folk melody beneath the warring guitars, may just be one of the heaviest tracks Eluveitie has crafted. Similarly, ‘Sempiternal Embers’ features an all-out melodic deathmetal attack which dissipates as the track progresses and eventually gives way to a speedy fiddles-and-flutes section, before recovering and resolving itself in the same manner as it began. It’s clear that Eluveitie were eager to prove that despite their experimentation with the all-acoustic Evocation I
, they were still the same genre-blending band as before.
Increasing their metallic edge should not be understood to mean that the band have dialled back the influence of their folk instrumentation. Four of the thirteen tracks on this album are fully fledged folk instrumentals, including the introductory song ‘Otherworld’ which implements some very effective orchestral elements as well as a female spoken-word excerpt. ‘Isara’ utilises an acoustic guitar to provide a backbone while a captivating flute drives the track forward, straddling a partition between present upbeat feelings and forgotten sadness. Elsewhere, the remaining tracks are undeniably more heavily focused on the melodic deathmetal style, often to the slight disadvantage of the folk elements. Immediately after the album opener, the title track explodes onto the scene and establishes a strong, metal driven sound that the majority of the remaining album follows. Although, Nil begins with a strongly folk orientated medley leading into a track that retains the strong balance of folk and metal that Eluveitie are generally known for.
Lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Chingrel Glanzmann proves also to be a talented lyricist, conjuring vivid imagery through his word choice, most of which of course revolve around the Celtic history that Eluveitie’s songwriting is geared towards. Occasionally, hurdy-gurdy player Anna Murphy adds her vocals to the album which greatly enhances a great number of key areas within the album. ‘Quoth the Raven’, apart from being an incredibly solid track on its own, slows down once it nears its end in time for Anna to chant out the following passage;
“And death will smile his barefaced smile
initiating your final anguish
It is not before my arrival
that you will be led to feel
the natural serenity of leaving this world...
Hear my wings caressing the wind!
Hear my… cry!”
Anna’s clean singing/speaking voice is definitely a highlight of the album and her screams are powerful in a different way to Chingrel’s. The inclusion of their two different vocal style works perfectly throughout the album. In a few instances the two of them perform vocal duties together; Chingrel growling, Anna singing, which creates some of the most noteworthy moments. Certainly, increasing the metal influences certainly works favourably for Chingrel's throaty vocal work but in saying that, Anna manages to stand out even more than before over the darker sounding instrumental section.
Perhaps it's not the most representative album of Eluveitie's career, however, the band should certainly be praised for taking the time to cater towards both halves of their sound in more detail. With Everything Remains As It Never Was
, Eluveitie have created an album that, while not achieving the balance between their two predominant styles they previously have been able to attain, still manages to be a rewarding listening experience and an enjoyable album overall.