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Album Reviews : Eluveitie – Slania

By on February 16, 2008

Folk metal is a genre that often hits either extreme. There are countless bands that claim to be folk metal but have very little (if any) actual folk influences in their music, and then there’s the bands that have so many folk instruments and acoustic passages that it’s hard to actually find anything metal about them. Eluveitie however, have found the perfect balance and manage to stay true to both halves of the genre title.

Eluveitie stood out from the rest of the bands in this (relatively small) genre with their 2006 release “Spirit” however the new one has put them in a league of their own. The variety of instruments that this octet (yes, that’s 8 members) uses is astonishing and each fits in perfectly. At no point do the folk influences sound out of place. A fiddle, hurdy-gurdy, bagpipes, an abundance of different flutes and various native lesser-known instruments feature throughout the album and each instrument has it’s time to shine.

The album features a range of songs from folky instrumental tracks, to songs with a fairly even balance of folk and metal, to much heavier material with potential to cause some serious neck injuries. Despite the variety, each track does sound like an Eluveitie track. There are significant differences between tracks but Eluveitie have definitely established their own sound and feel that is evident throughout the entire album.

There are so many brilliant tracks that it’s difficult to pick a favorite. The brutality of Bloodstained Ground, the catchy chorus of Inis Mona, the great use of female vocals in Slania’s Song; each track has something in it to make it stand out. There is no filler in this album, everything has its place. Many folk albums seem to have the problem of folk sections sounding like they were put there simply because there had to be some folk influences in there somewhere. At no point throughout the whole of “Slania” did I get that impression. Every piece of music, whether it be metal or folk, is used brilliantly to complement the other instruments involved.

For me, this album is the pinnacle of folk metal. No other album has managed to blend the two genres so well. This is a must hear for all fans of folk metal, or those who are looking for a starting point into the genre. 8.5/10

Band: Eluveitie
Album: Slania
Genre: Folk metal
Year: 2008
Origin: Switzerland
Label: Nuclear Blast

Track Listing:
1. Samon
2. Primordial Breath
3. Inis Mona <- Reviewers choice
4. Gray Sublime Archon
5. Anagantios
6. Bloodstained Ground
7. The Somber Lay
8. Slanias Song
9. Giamonios
10. Tarvos Calling The Rain
11. Elembivos

About

Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.