Monday, August 27, 2012

Review: Eluveitie - Helvetios

Band: Eluveitie
Album: Helvetios
Year: 2012
Country: Switzerland
Genre: Melodic Death/Folk Metal

Helvetios is my first trip into the discography of Eluveitie and it has left me with very a very mixed opinion. Unfortunately most of that opinion is negative but there are definitely some positives and some tracks on the album that make for an interesting listen. The Swiss band plays an amalgam of folk and melodic death metal. I personally have never delved into the folk genre myself so I wasn't quite sure what to expect.

These days I'm not sure but some bands really try to push too much music onto one album. This can really hurt the overall feel. Helvetios suffers heavily from this with 17 tracks coming in at 59 minutes. This makes Helvetios a meandering long winded affair. In fact I've listened to the album 4 or 5 times and it is still difficult to pick out many songs from one another. That's not to say all the songs are bad or anything, but you could have easily cut the album in half and left the best tracks and had a really great album. Instead there are so many tracks that could have been trimmed that make this a hard listen to completely get through.

The only thing that makes it worth while are the good catchy tracks like Luxtos, Meet the Enemy, Havoc, and Uxellodunon peppered through out the album. These have the strongest riffs. Like I said before that doesn't mean the other songs are bad but they are painfully mediocre. A Rose for Epona stands out from the others probably because it starts off softly and gets heavier as it goes on and is entirely sung using female vocals. Otherwise most songs fail to differentiate themselves from one another, and they are rather "meh".

Vocally Chrigel Glanzmann has a rather "normal" harsh vocal style. They are rather standard when you look at the genre and the prevailing trends vocally. It's the clean vocals that are a bit more interesting. The female vocals appear here and there and are well done, especially on A Rose for Epona. The male singing done on Scorched Earth is especially good and sounds as if it was recorded by some bard from ancient times.

Helvetios is a pretty mediocre melodic death metal album. In fact if it weren't for the fact that the band heavily uses folk elements it would be your standard boring melodeath album without much to make it unique from others. But still even the folk metal fusion cannot save this album and bring it above the challenge that it is to get through. For every good song here there are one or two boring ones to follow it. Though there are still good songs here and that does count for something. Perhaps next time Eluveitie will try not to shove too many songs and too much material onto one cd.

Score: 4.5/10
Standout Tracks: Luxtos, Meet the Enemy, Havoc, Uzellodunon, A Rose for Epona

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