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Eluveitie "Origins"

Eluveitie "Origins"

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Fans of both Celtic Frost and Riverdance, rejoice! Swiss folk metallers Eluveitie have returned, delivering with Origins another set of tunes that sound something like a mash-up of the Wacken Open Air festival and the music played at a Rennaissance fair.
While it's obvious upon first listen that it's something of a concept album , or at least an album organized around a theme, but it can be a little difficult to discern what's going on. That's largely because a good deal of the album is in Gaulish, an ancient (and dead) Celtic language once spoken in the area now occupied by France. While the word “Celtic” is most commonly associated with the British aisles (witness the Boston Celtics), it once constituted a family of language that extended into Europe's mainland.
The choice of language is fitting, given that the concept behind the album has something to do with Gaulish mythology. It’s difficult to pick up on a specific storyline, having to do with nobles and deities and monsters, but the use of an indecipherable language also adds something to the album’s mystique. And mystique is something sorely needed with folk metal, since it often sounds like two distinct styles of music playing independently of one another, rather than as two parts of a larger whole.
Both elements are delivered competently, although on either count the band can sometimes sound like they’re on autopilot, delivering the same refrains over and over. The band is at their best when they provide variations on the theme. While most people interested in Eluveitie will come from the metal side of the spectrum, some of the better moments come when the folk side of the music has a more commanding presence, as it does on “Celtos.” Elsewhere, the band alternates the differing sides rather than playing them simultaneously, moving back and forth between folk and metal, which creates some interesting song dynamics. The band also employs a variety of vocals in song and speech. The metal voice is fairly consistent, delivered in a raspy, nearly death metal style growl. But otherwise male and female vocalists contribute to the songs, both in solos and in choruses. There are also a number of spoken word passages, in English, which give the listener a few more hints as to the nature of the storyline, as well as adding to the overall aesthetic.