Vera : It was only a matter of time before the colourful, vivacious collective Eluveitie should be noticed and signed by a big label. The Swiss band was present at numerous festivals last summer and the undersigned soon got fascinated by the stirring Alps-brew served up by this eight-headed outfit. During one of these festivals (Summer Breeze) they played a new song and it appears to be the title track of the new album 'Slania'.
Thus Eluveitie is a classic example of a fast growing band and they really deserve it. They actually do add something to the exploding pagan metal scene with their enthusiastic blend of melodic death metal - vocalist Chrigel is a diehard Gothenburg scene fan - and authentic folk with a wide range of mostly acoustic instruments. 'Slania' is the first album for new label Nuclear Blast and the minutely executed music got a sparkling mix of Jens Bogren at the famous Fascination Studios.
The album begins with the Irish traditional 'Samon'. With its melancholy and conjuring whisperings, my attention is promptly evoken. Then they cut loose in a delicious game of raucous metal. The harsh throat of Chrigel is backed up by some sturdy harmony vocals. In brief 'Primordial Breath' sets the tone instantly and will turn into a vehement start of a top notch album. 'Inis Mona' combines scream-like vocals with a Breton seaman's song, while during the jumpy 'Grey Sublime Archon' I mostly focus on the special folkloristic instruments which are always present, even in very heavy stunners like 'Bloodstained Ground' and 'The Somber I Lay'. The live presented 'Slanias Song' is a bit different. Not only because it is sung by violinist Meri Tadic, but also by its catchiness to sing along. But that is excellent to incite the crowd during their frequent gigs. In between the heavy stuff, pure folk moments are inserted, represented by the instrumental 'Giamonios' and the magnificent 'Anagantios' (with hurdy-gurdy and violin). Beautiful moments of melancholy! 'Tarvos' and 'Calling The Rain' are heavy as hell again, but once again the folk instruments keep on following this wild patterns. 'Slania' is occluded with the captivating 'Elembivos' which leans on a kind of trance inducing choir chants, but an inspired, amazing guitar solo pops up and is the ice on the cake. It may be obvious: with 'Slania' Eluveitie will be upgraded from the sub-top to the top of the pagan metal scene!