Eluveitie - Tapper, Tallinn, Estonia, 06.12.2015
|Event:||Eluveitie: Origins European Tour 2015|
Eluveitie - Tapper, Tallinn, Estonia, 06.12.2015 by Ivor (60)
Over the years I've learned to exercise caution about folk metal. Some of it is bland as hell, a lot of it sounds like all the rest, and sometimes the gigs suck big time amongst the carousing attitude and atmosphere the bands try to uphold, failing miserably in their drunken disrespect of the audience (yes, Finntroll, I'm pointing at you). All I knew this time is that it felt like folk metal Sunday.
Even though I got into Eluveitie relatively recently with their Helvetios album, and more so due to Anna Murphy's voice and amazing Lethe début, it's obvious that I was at the gig for Eluveitie. I wasn't expecting much from either of the warm-up acts and decided to let live performances speak for themselves. It's easiest that way but more importantly it feels a lot more genuine and sometimes it pays off in heaps.
Pierre - Ithilien
There are many ways you can play folk metal and this evening turned out to be a showcase of sorts. What I haven't realized so far is how it doesn't really correlate with the number of folk instruments that the bands employ. Take Ithilien, for example. A stereotypical folk metal band in appearance: ie. some furs, leather, etc., as well as instrumentation, including hurdy-gurdy, bag-pipes, and synths. Try as they might, the end result for me was that of a band of which there are dime a dozen around.
Where Ithilien's combination of synths and genuine folk instruments sounded kind of cheesy, you'd expect Iceland's Skálmöld's use of only synths (excepting Anna Murphy's hurdy-gurdy guest appearance) to make an even worse impression. Turns out, it worked just the opposite. Whether it's the rhythms, the interplay of very melodic and heavy sections, the barking nature of Björgvin Sigurðsson vocals, or the self-forgetting and passionate stage-presence of guitarist Baldur Ragnarsson, Skálmöld were captivating. While Ithilien evoked a galloping kind of emotion, Skálmöld kept it varied throughout the set and thus earned the distinction of being interesting.
Baldur Ragnarsson - Skálmöld
The final piece of the showcase came as Eluveitie - who leave synths out of the equation entirely - focused on flutes, violin and hurdy-gurdy. Unsurprisingly in their case it works like a charm (and the reasons are numerous). However, as far as I'm concerned, it still is the music that matters, not what you play it with. Presence of folk instruments may qualify you as a folk band but so can synths if used right. Ultimately, however, it's the music that says if you're any good at it. And during this evening Skálmöld and Eluveitie were very good.
Writing about concerts is a funny little hobby. It seems that the only time it's relatively effortless is when, for better or worse, the expectations regarding the gig are not met. When the gig runs its due course along the more or less expected route, especially when it happens to be a good route, the words are hard to come by without drooling all over.
I went in expecting Eluveitie to nail it. They came on stage and nailed it in a single stroke, as you would were you hammering nails day in and day out. They were excellent. Probably the only fault you can find with them is that having been on tour for the past year and a half or so, they have honed their shows to relative perfection. In their case a comparison with the Swiss watch industry is apt as no other; their show mechanics fall precisely in place like cogs in a watch. Even their rotation of members on stage from back to front is barely conscious any more.
Chrigel Glanzmann - Eluveitie
That all is not to say that Eluveitie's show is clinical and listless. It still flows back and forth between beauty and anger. Rather unexpected for me personally, though not unexpected objectively, was an acoustic set the band presented somewhere down the middle of the show. It made for a nice interlude and a breather to let the audience bask in pure beauty of folk melodies.
1. Origins (Intro) (Origins)
2. King (Origins)
3. Nil (Everything Remains (As It Never Was))
4. Thousandfold (Everything Remains (As It Never Was))
5. AnDro (Spirit)
6. Slanias Song (Slania)
7. Omnos (Evocation I - The Arcane Dominion)
8. De Ruef Vo De Bärge (Origins)
9. From Darkness (Origins)
10. Carry The Torch (Origins)
11. Kingdom Come Undone (Everything Remains (As It Never Was))
12. Tegernakô (Spirit)
13. Brictom (Evocation I - The Arcane Dominion)
14. Scorched Earth (Helvetios)
15. Reel Set
16. Jig Set
17. Carnutian Forest (Evocation I - The Arcane Dominion)
18. Isara (Everything Remains (As It Never Was))
19. Memento (Evocation I - The Arcane Dominion)
20. Prologue (Intro) (Helvetios)
21. Helvetios (Helvetios)
22. Luxtos (Helvetios)
23. Neverland (Helvetios)
24. Havoc (Helvetios)
25. Alesia (Helvetios)
26. Inis Mona (Slania)
Eluveitie's gig was one of those times that, when things fall perfectly in place, kind of make words redundant. You really don't want to go much further than just say "This is awesome! Pure folk fucking metal!" and throw a couple of horns and maybe add a roar somewhere there if you feel really generous. Eluveitie just nailed a show, and they did it professionally and in style. Period.
Anna Murphy - Eluveitie
Written on 21.12.2015 by
I shoot people.
Sometimes, I also write about it.
And one day I'm going to start a band. We're going to be playing pun-rock.
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