Friday, February 24, 2012

Eluveitie - Helvetios (2012)

Eluveitie, the masters of folk metal, have finally returned with a brand new album, entitled “Helvetios.“ The album contains an outstanding 17 tracks and gives you everything you want and more in a pagan folk metal album. They include wild solos from unique instruments such as the flute, the violin, and even the hurdy gurdy. You’ll also find violent guitars, dominating drum rolls, and beautiful piano riffs throughout this pagan masterpiece.

It all begins with a “Prologue” of a man telling a story while ocean sound effect drift in the background. This fades into “Helvetios” which storms in with melodic riffs by the infamous hurdy gurdy and monstrous guitars that chug away violently. Thunderous drum rolls accompany this epic sound as female vocals chant loudly in the background. The first verse comes in with roaring growls and fast guitar riffs. The chorus contains fast pace double bass pedal drumming and aggressive growls as female vocals chant in the background. Later you’re met with a wild solo by the hurdy gurdy. This solo will absolutely knock you on your ass. It’s melodies make you want to get up and dance while the guitars and drums make you want to bash your head recklessly.

One thing that you can always count on with Eluveitie is how clear their growling vocals are. Usually it’s so hard to understand what death and black metal growls and screams are actually saying, but with growls as clean as these you can pretty much hear everything that is said. Songs like “Home” and “Santonian Shores” are some perfect examples.

Towards the middle of the album you will come across “Meet The Enemy” which jumps at you immediately with heavy chugging guitars and exploding drum fills. The verse starts off right away with demonic growls that echo throughout the entire track. Meanwhile a little flute melody jumps in the background giving an uplifting feel to the song. You’ll run into this flute again in the middle of the song as it delivers a mind blowing solo that will make you want to replay this song for sure. Double bass pedal drum rolls rumble heavily in the background keeping an upbeat tempo. The end ahs an interesting surprise and female vocals step in with spoken word. This spoken word quickly turns into a bone chilling growl that will definitely make you shit yourself. More female vocals show up in “Neverland” as well only this time they are in the chorus and accompany the male growls giving a strong beauty and the beast type of sound. Later you’re met with a catchy violin solo that will have you dancing in circles in no time. Double bass fills shake from underneath you with detailed rolls and shattering cymbals.

If you like the use of female vocals so far then you’re gonna love the song “A Rose For Epona.” It opens with gorgeous piano notes and angelic flutes and hurdy gurdy melodies. The female vocals take full control of this song as you‘ll find only short clips of growling lyrics. The chorus is filled with ravishing vocals and aggressive guitar riffs. Make sure you pay close attention to the drums on this one because that are insane. Constant double bass also opens up the song “Havoc.” This is followed by relentless snares and cymbals that constantly smash away in the background. Monstrous growling vocals step back into the picture and completely pound you into the ground with its viciousness.

“Hope” is a short piece that is strictly instrumental. Gorgeous flutes soar high over bag pipes and acoustic strings. The melodies are catchy and definitely leave you wanting more. Two and a half minutes just isn’t enough. Of course, you’re reawaken by the devilish growls in “The Siege.” This is one of the more violent song on the album for sure. You greeted by both male and female growls throughout the song and booming drum rolls as well. They include an upbeat violin solo that carries jolly melodies that really mix up the mood of the song. “Alesia” is another track you don’t want to miss. Beautiful female vocals open the first verse as the reckless growling vocals follow. The chorus contains both vocals layered on top of one another. Meanwhile quick kicks and snares beat up the background and carry heavy distorted guitar along with them. Another flute solo steps in during the bridge forcing you to get up and dance. This is another one of those “must play again” kind of songs.

Over the years Eluveitie has used the female vocalists more and more through each album. They really play a big part in this album and it definitely adds more diversity and balance to the band and the music. As far as the instruments go, everything mixes together perfectly. Refrains are catchy, guitars are heavy, and the drums are punishing. There are times you will want to dance and times that you will want to mosh. When an album gets you moving as much as this one does you know you’re in for a treat!


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