Album review: ELUVEITIE – Origins

Nuclear Blast – Out Now.

Originally conceived by vocalist Christian “Chrigel” Glanzmann as a purely studio project, Swiss Melodic Death/Folk Metallers Eluveitie have gone a pretty long way since their inception back in 2002.

It only took the release of one full length album for Nuclear Blast to realise the band’s true potential and snatch them from the hands of the less powerful Fear Dark Records – a decision that seems to have paid dividends as 2012’s “Helvetios” charted in countries around the world.

Following the departure of two members from the band’s line up and the subsequent addition of a new lead guitarist and violinist to fill the gap, the band entered their native New Sound Studios and with Coroner’s Tommy Vetterli on production duties recorded their sixth studio album to date entitled “Origins”.

From a purely stylistic point of view, “Origins” is not at all dissimilar to its predecessor “Helvetios” as it relies on the same Gothenburg-styled guitar riffs and fiddle/flute driven Folk melodies for making its presence felt.

Having said that, one cannot fail but notice a renewed sense of urgency characterising the sixteen compositions on offer – something which, I suspect, has a lot to do with guitarist Rafael Salzmann having recently joined the band.

The albums heavier material sounds heavier than ever before while those compositions that are more commercial-orientated, the ones predominantly sang by flutist Anna Murphy could, with a few slight modifications, have easily featured in a Lacuna Coil album.

Having absolutely loved the Orson Welles styled epic intro “Origins”, I was quite pleased by the fine balance between the heavy and melodic elements in “The Nameless” – a balance which characterises the majority of the compositions on offer.

Being a real sucker for emotional melodies and epic-sounding themes I was immediately drawn by compositions such as “Celtos”, “Inception” and “King” while I found the more conventional tracks such as “Virunus”, “Sucellos” and “The Silver Sister” to be interesting but somewhat lacking in originality and conviction.

The one composition that made a massive impression on me due to its intensity and sheer evilness, and adjective I never before thought I would ever use in an Eluveitie review, is “Carry The Torch” while the commercial driven “The Call Of The Mountains” while pleasant to listen to was a tad too tamed for my liking.

The one thing I did realise, however, the moment the final few notes of the epic outro “Eternity” were performed was that this is an album that demands and deserves ones constant attention – a task that I was more than happy to undertake by pressing again the ‘play’ button on my PC.

If Eluveitie have failed to capture your interest with their past releases then chances are that this will continue to be the case after having exposed to the material featured in “Origins”.

If, on the other hand, you find the band’s unique blend of Gothenburg-styled riffs and Folk instrument melodies to be quite agreeable with you then this sixteen track release will for sure further strengthen any emotional connection you have with the Swiss octet.

Though not the most original-sounding of releases, “Origins” is a pretty enjoyable albums produced by a band in possession of a clear musical vision and plenty of skill.

John Stefanis

Rating: ***1/2 (3.5/5.0)

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