Eluveitie - Helvetios review
|Release date:||February 2012|
05. Santonian Shores
06. Scorched Earth
07. Meet The Enemy
09. A Rose For Epona
11. The Uprising
13. The Siege
18. A Rose For Epona [Acoustic Version][Bonus]
If you're a first time listener, hearing folk metal can be a tad bit intimidating. Trust me, I had my share of questions when I first got into the scene. For instance: What is folk metal? What the heck is a "hurdy-gurdy"? And why do they love the woods so much? Thankfully for me, the first folk metal album I ever listened to front to back was Helvetios, by Eluvietie. This album also happened to flipping rock front to back as well.
As an album, I feel that Helvetios did a mesmerizing job of staying true to its folk metal motif, but proving to be very heavy. The band's featuring of Chrigel Glanzmann's harsh screaming and Anna Murphy's beautiful clean vocals is not exactly 50/50. Glanzmann's screaming dominates the album. However, while I love Anna Murphy, I think this led to a much heavier product. A lot of the songs on this album are almost in the thrash metal vein. Songs like "Luxtos" and "Meet the Enemy" can really get your blood pressure skyrocketing. The beauty of this album I feel is that Murphy sprinkles her angelic voice here and there, widening the appeal of the piece as a whole and adding atmosphere to this pre-existent hurricane. Just her adding a couple of lines, like she does in the title track for instance, adds a new dimension to this album. She also experiments in harsh vocals in songs like "Meet the Enemy"!
While Murphy can get her vocals in at small times in this album, this is still predominately a very fast, heavy piece, and all of the songs are like that. There is one exception though: "A Rose for Epona," the ninth track on the album, predominately features Anna Murphy's voice and is a slower number. It is also one of the only two music videos made from the album ("Havoc" being the other). However, by saying this is an exception to the heavy formula that prevails through the album, I am not saying it's a bad song. I am not implying that it is a sell out to get on the radio, and I'm not stating that it's a duller song heavier fans should skip. This is seriously one of the best songs on the album, and would be in my top 3 for songs on Helivetios, songs by Eluvietie, and folk metal songs in general. It is a very moving piece, that does contain catchy guitar work, overlapping through a captivating chord progression, with Murphy's voice emulating the feeling of the song. Don't skip it, at least for your first spin through.
One other feature that historically inclined metalheads will enjoy is that it is a concept album concerning the Gallic Wars. Reading the lyrics will give one a brief understanding of what soldiers had to go through back in that era. That being said, for those not historically inclined, feel free to just listen to the album. It still rocks!
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