Review Summary: Eluveitie finally come home.
When Anna Murphy left Eluveitie a few years back I'll admit that part of the band's quintessential essence left with her. Sure, the music that followed in the vein of Evocation II: Pantheon
continued in the same typical hurdy-gurdy vein full of bombastic flutes and Celtic mythology but the proverbial revolving door of members added a more decisive and forced sound at complete odds with the cohesive days of Slania
(an album which helped launch this Zurich based act to international stardom). Ategnatos
however sees Eluveitie come back to a semblance of its former design, without dropping the band's newly found flair for vaguely represented pagan mythos. Ategnatos
stands as the group's more rounded, immersive listen that maintains deeper roots to the early days of Eluveitie.
That being said, Eluveitie's most recent studio effort is a rather superfluous, yet highly memorable affair built on the brick by brick songwriting styles that has carried (even if by a somewhat self-plagiarised manner) Eluveitie to the golden halls of pagan filled glory. Ategnatos
lives and dies by the vague ethos steeped in historic culture, bolstered only by memorable songwriting and the fans need to be a part of the story. Where the spoken words meet melodeath folk-dom Eluveitie soar into the realms of their own popularity, recalling Slania
indirectly into their modern being. While "Deathwalker" thunders into the mindset of a world made new by melodeath there's an air that it's all been done before (mostly, because it has), but Ategnatos
neither builds or suffers because of it. The triumph of "A Cry In The Wilderness" is overshadowed by the fact that even the best used formulas can become too much, overused and tired - no matter how enjoyable something is at the very core.
Eluveitie's best and worst features comes in its ability to combine the epic with the "just right". The Randy Blythe featured "Worship" include the album's most enjoyable thrash-y melodeath and insane amounts of biblical-styled cringe (talk about over done) but it's not until "Ambiramus" do the band's listeners find themselves completely invested in the new age of Eluveitie's member structuring. Stunning flutes bleed infectious melody before Fabienne Erni's lush highs take centre stage here, there and everywhere. The sum of all Ategnatos
' parts leave fans in utmost satisfaction while outsiders still recognise that Eluveitie's pagan drenched folkened metal slaunch can still kick their Swedish melodeath countrymen (probably looking at you In Flames…) right in the proverbial tuchus. Ategnatos
is more memorable than Eluveitie's last efforts combined, and enjoyable when not taken overly seriously.