It’s weird to realize just how much one will anticipate an upcoming record. Now I listen to metal across the spectrum, I’m not kidding but I’m not about to go into detail on how I manage to love System Of A Down, Behemoth, Eye Of Solitude and Anaal Nathrakh all at the same time. It’s like travelling between two different worlds, with all the roads between. Now forget about my own journey around the metal world and focus on the album that’s on hand. There are some bands that just create interest with fresh ideas and out of the box thinking. Eluveitie, formed in the year 2002 is an instantly captivating show of storytelling and driving rhythms. Even over ten years later (a few line up modifications), Eluveitie have not only increased their viability in today’s scene, but made a record that defines their legacy while highlighting a year of stellar releases. That might seem like a big call, but it’s not everyday that a band can tie together storytelling, catchy beats, bombastic rhythms and tight musicianship without falling into a trap filled with cliches and filler tracks. ‘Origins’ has no filler to speak of, no cliche to cripple and a wealth of musical ingenuity backed by experience. ‘Origins’ is a natural progression of the band’s last effort, giving even more life to their 2014 record.
At the album’s core, there’s not a whole lot different to the previous records, although one instance is the inclusions of Anna Murphy, whose dynamic female vocal style would normally effect a change within many soundscapes becomes only a minor misgiving as the music this time around, tends to speak for itself. Miss Murphy doesn’t have the same role as she had on previous record, taking the back seat and only adding her ability sparingly. It’s interesting to wonder however, what extra element she would have brought to this new record, unrivaled within folk/pagan metal as it is given more of the vocal limelight. As it stands, it’s only a minor thought that distracts from the big picture.
Theme is an important part of every Eluveitie record, heritage and tales of ancient warfare, often adopting the ancient and now extinct language of Gaulish, interest is normally spiked before even hearing a track. ‘Origins’ focuses on the early days of Gaulish mythology, bringing it to life through the album’s lyricism and constant array of folk-ish melody.
At this point you’re probably wondering why I haven’t mentioned a single track of the album. You can take this as your spoiler warning as I’m penning this before the masses have heard more than one track. It’s no wonder why “King” was the first single released before the album is fully available, but I’m here to tell you it’s not the best track off ‘Origins’. That’s not to say it’s bad (frankly, it is one of the best songs to be released this year), but ‘Origins’ is filled with highlights an odes to the gods of old. Take the album opener for example; like ‘Helvetious’ the spoken dialogue of the track (which bears the album’s title) sets the tone for the record and brings life to the repeated theme of:
“He who has ears to hear, let him hear…”
Tracks like “The Silver Sister” and “The Call Of The Mountains” highlight the record. At times, the soundscape is simplistic, other times the sound is bombastic, frantic, bringing together theme, vocals and instrumental aspects all into a neat package. There’s a whole host of tracks worthy of being the next single as it’s important to note that “King” is but the start of something special.
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Overall if you’re a fan of Eluveitie, ‘Origins’ will not come as any form of surprise. The bombastic rituals melding story-telling and intensity with sensual melody captivate the listener to where they stand. If you’re new to this group than ‘Origins’ is a welcoming place to start, highlighting what could be an untested peak in quality. As for my own assumptions, Eluveitie still have a lot more to offer before they reach the figurative end of their quality. The road is long and Eluveitie still have more tales to tell.
Origins will be released on August 1st (EUR), August 4th (UK) and on August 5th (North America) via Nuclear Blast.
Origins track list:
02. The Nameless
03. From Darkness
07. The Call Of The Mountains
11. The Silver Sister
13. The Day Of Strife
15. Carry The Torch
(Hurdygurdy, Vocals, Flute)
(Vocals, Mandola, etc.)
(Tin & Low Whistles, Bagpipe)