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Eluveitie - "Origins" (CD)

Eluveitie - "Origins" CD cover image

"Origins" track listing:

1. Origins
2. The Nameless
3. From Darkness
4. Celtos
5. Virunus
6. Nothing
7. The Call of the Mountains
8. Sucellos
9. Inception
10. Vianna
11. The Silver Sister
12. King
13. The Day of Strife
14. Ogmios
15. Carry the Torch
16. Eternity

Reviewed by on July 2, 2014

"There is energy with every [Eluveitie] album that transcends the boundaries of just being 'music'... it’s a blanket that warms, a beer that satiates, a lover that satisfies, a book that creates worlds, and music that emotes."

There are some bands that have a feel of “going through the motions” when releasing new albums, either relying on successes of previous efforts or generally uninspired by the process. Then there are bands that put every bit of energy, heart, and soul into each and every album driven by a desire to create stronger material, never lazing under the notion that albums “can’t get any better than ‘x’ release.”

Ever since 2003, Swiss folk metal act Eluveitie has been captivating with every release, as if the word “monumental” was ingrained in the band's genes. It’s not simply because of its Celtic roots, or the combination of melody with that splash of extreme, or the use of what seems like hundreds of instruments (most of which you can't pronounce), but also the amount of blood that runs through the songs like veins inside each album. There is energy with every album that transcends the boundaries of just being music….it’s a blanket that warms, a beer that satiates, a lover that satisfies, a book that creates worlds, and music that emotes. “Origins” might just be the best album in the band’s history and clearly is a top contender for 2014.

Eluveitie also has the distinction of being one of the few groups that has the ability to inspire fans to delve deeper into the historical content of each release, especially after witnessing a live performance. It’s one thing to live in the comfort of a well-produced album with the ability to perfect the sound, but once you see this band in a live setting – meticulously re-creating the sound of the recorded masterpiece note for note, instrument for instrument with deadly precision – the true beauty shines through. Only by visualizing this culmination of what must be a motherload of practice and effort that has led to perfect timing and execution will you then have complete appreciation for how much this band gives a shit about its craft. Calling it extraordinary seems so ordinary.

“Origins” expounds upon the formula blazed in “Helveitos,” but harkens a bit back to the days of “Slania,” with much higher production values. I was a bit perplexed by a backlash from some critics of “Helveitos” who cited a rather startling “lack of originality,” so it wouldn’t be a shock to see “Origins” met with similar caterwauling. More astounding is trying to comprehend exactly what the expectation level is given the history of Eluveitie since “Evocation” was released in 2008. With “Origins” you can brace yourself for much greater Celtic “origins,” more bagpipes and flutes, and more participation from Anna Murphy, who has now become just as indispensable as Chrigel.

There is plenty of “Slania” here to keep the “trve fans” satisfied – check out “Inception,” “King,” “Carry the Torch,” or “The Silver Sister.” For those that also love intricate and pulse generating Celtic melodies with more flutes, tin whistles, and Gaitas than you will ever find at a Riverdance show, all reinforced by Chrigel’s death grows and interlaced with Anna Murphy’s astounding voice – look no further than tracks like “Celtos,” “From Darkness,” “The Nameless,” “Sucellos” and what sounds like the sequel to “A Rose for Epona” – “The Call of the Mountains.” The only chink in the otherwise perfect armor is the swiftness that this album passes, even though it clocks in at 52 minutes, not including intros (58 with). I suddenly wished for an hour and a half, knowing it will probably be too long.

In the end, Eluvetie raised it's stock higher, carving a greater niche and ascending a crowded folk metal scene. In what will surely be a fiddle fight death match with bands like Elvenking and Equilibrium, Eluveitie may just be the strongest contender this year, barring no subgenre. “Origins” will astound the faithful as well as garner more critics desiring “something different.” The fact remains….what Eluveitie does is in of itself “something different” and “Origins” may be the best effort yet.

Highs: One of the finest achievements in folk metal.

Lows: The musical formula remains the same, which for some may be overdone.

Bottom line: Eluveitie re-retraces its "origins" and discovers it was always that damn good!

Rated 5.0 out of 5 skulls
5.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)