The moment I had first laid ears on ELUVEITIE’s pretty unique mix of Melodic Death and Folk Metal, I had fallen in love with is, both “Slania” and “Spirit” are still more or less regular guests in my CD player, so when their third full length album (not counting the purely acoustic affair “Evocation I – The Arcane Dominion”) “Everything Remains As It Never Was” reached me, I was looking forward to another dose of Helvetic Metal.
And as high as my hopes had been, as crushed they would be over the next 45 minutes. OK, “crushed” is probably too strong of a word, but I find this album lacking in several ways, which is a pity, because the band has had an edge over the majority of other bands so commonly lumped together under the Folk Metal banner. There are no glaring differences in style compared to before and that at least partially contributes to why “Everything Remains As It Never Was” does not live up to what I had been envisioning, but I shall elaborate, as I don’t make too much sense just yet.
ELUVEITIE’s sound always had been characterized by the meshing together of Melodic Death Metal of the Göteborg school and Folk Metal with strong emphasis on the hurdy-gurdy, bagpipes, whistles and the likes and the majority of this long player follows in the same footsteps, interspersed, as usual, with some pure Folk compositions in-between, and overall borne by Chrigel Glanzmann’s gruff Death Metal bark, accentuated by Anna Murphy’s clear voice. So far so good, no deviation from their glorious first two albums, so where is this going awry?
Well, while some of the guitar passages have taken on a more modern approach, at times brushing against what many claim to be Metalcore, it is not my beef with the album, but rather it is a distinct lack of freshness and energy, something that I had always loved with ELUVEITIE and that gave their compositions an added extra. So the conundrum the Swiss and I seem to be caught in is that most of the songs are not bad by any means, but seem to lack the flair that I had known and loved them for, it seems a little stale here and there, if you follow me.
This becomes most evident in “Quoth The Raven”, which does not manage to get me moving in any way and seems like the band is going through the motions. But like I said, the title track, “Thousandfold”, “epic “Kingdom Come Undone” or also the two instrumentals “Isara” and “Setlon” are strong songs that definitely stand high above the average, the problem is just that the Swiss had set their own standards so high that now they seem to be haunted by the spirits they invoked.
The musicianship and production values are impeccable, since each band member manages to show their talent and also is heard in the songs, but ELUVEITIE are somewhat treading water, mostly sticking to their guns, but having lost some of that flair and spirit that they had displayed so proudly before. If you are a fan of the Swiss or the genre, at least check out “Everything Remains As It Never Was”, but I just can’t fully get past what everything could have been, no matter how it was...
(Online May 3, 2011)