Everything Remains (As It Never Was)
posted on 3/2010 By:
I’ll say this throughout the course of my upcoming review, but so far in 2010, folk/pagan/Viking metal has been pretty damn good: Finntroll, Heidevolk, Varg, Svartsot, Bifrost, just to name a few of the standouts. And then there’s the big name release in Switzerland’s Eluveitie, who exploded on the scene with 2008s Slania, then released the all-acoustic album Evocation I last year.
I’ll come out and say it right away: I happen to think Eluveitie is incredibly overrated. I thought Slania was metalcore/Swede-core with a hurdy gurdy at best, and while a nice little folk metal album for newcomers or casual listeners, it was a pretty shallow release compared to some of the bands above and the likes of Equilibrium's Sagas, released the same year.
Personally, little has changed, as the album title’s first part Everything Remains is pretty fitting. What you basically have here is commercialized, standard melodic death metal with a folk glossing. It’s basically mid-era In Flames or any other second-tier Gothenburg act mixed with the Braveheart soundtrack and some female vocals. The album would be a fair-to-middling melodic death metal album without the folk elements, and with the folk elements, it’s not much better and, to me, comes off as a bit superficial. Frankly, these guys are folk metal for Hot Topic kids. Which is a shame, as Evocation was very enjoyable and shows the genuine side of the band, once the rather shallow metal element is removed.
For an example, look no further than the title track, especially the awful radio-friendly, folk take on Evanescence in the last 1:30-- are you kidding me? With the exception of “Lugd’non," the likes of “Essence of the Ashes," “Kingdom Come Undone," “Quoth the Raven," “(Do)Minion” and “Sempiternal Embers” just structurally don’t imbue folk/Viking/pagan imagery once the flutes and such are removed. The riffs are just not that kind of riffs, despite how much vocal variations and flutey-ness you throw in. Granted, the little folk ditties that litter the album like “Isara”, “Selton” and “The Liminal Passage”, as on Evocation, show that the band do have some innate folk ability, but then they choose to base that around rather mediocre melodic death metal. It's hard to think of Eluveitie as anything other than a bit of a trend-jumping sham, even despite the individual members skills.
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