ELUVEITIE — Origins (review)

ELUVEITIE — Origins album cover Album · 2014 · Folk Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
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Origins (2014) is the sixth full-length album by Swiss Celtic melodic death metal act Eluveitie. Since the release of their last album Helvetios (2012) the group has parted ways with guitarist Sime Koch and introduced Rafael Salzmann as a replacement. Violinist Meri Tadić has also left and Nicole Ansperger has been added to the line-up to fill that role.

It's hard for me to put a review together for Origins, at least not without simply repeating the same things I said in my earlier review for the previous album Helvetios. As has always seemed the case with Eluveitie albums with the exception of Evocation I: The Arcane Dominion (2009), a non-metal album, Origins brings more of the same from Eluveitie, complete with the same problems that I've always had with their music, that one exception aside.

The band's use of Celtic folk instrumentation is as skilfully done as ever and remains the most praiseworthy aspect here as with any Eluveitie album but the band will insist on plastering it with what is otherwise pretty bland and generic melodic death metal, producing results which have rarely done a lot for me. In fact I cannot name a single melodeath dominant Eluveitie song that has sounded anywhere near as powerful as the song that introduced me to the band, namely Inis Mona from Slania (2008). Now that would have been a really powerful melodeath track in its own right even if it hadn't had the folk instrumentation as well. In the defence of Origins I have to admit I did find a lot of the songs here stronger than I was expecting given my track record with Eluveitie, especially ones like Sucellos, The Silver Sister and King, but there are also several where boredom is only held off by the excellent folk melodies. The second half of the album is certainly stronger than the first, though the end of the album lets the higher run of quality down again.

I think the reason why I enjoyed Evocation I: The Arcane Dominion so much as it kept the band's excellent folk instrumentation but threw out the melodeath (actually, metal entirely) and also allowed Anna Murphy time to shine in the lead vocalist position that is normally held by growler Chrigel Glanzmann. By rights then my favourite song from Origins ought to be The Call of the Mountains on which Anna Murphy sings lead, but here Eluveitie did a very silly thing; they promoted the album with a multi-language version of the song, a version that struck me immediately as being perhaps both the best metal song they're done since Inis Mona and also one of their least generic songs all told. The English only version of the album is still one of the best songs on Origins but feels a bit blander by comparison. Anna gets a few more (shared) vocal slots in other songs like Celtos but I'd like to be hearing more of her voice in Eluveitie's music even if it has to be 'beauty and the beast' style with Chrigel. It always feels that they're wasting potential for the sake of being just that tad more extreme.

Origins is yet another frustrating album from Eluveitie, offering just enough to make me not want to write the band off entirely but ultimately not satisfying me all that much. Rating it at less than 3.5 stars would probably be unfair as that's the rating range I put Helvetios in and I think this one is objectively slightly stronger, but ultimately I can't say I find Origins all that recommendable within either the folk metal or melodic death metal genres; for all they can do the folk side well the melodeath side can drag the music down as often as it works and likewise I don't think the folk side is going to offer all that much redemption for those looking for some kick arse and epic melodeath. I really don't know what else I can say, except perhaps this: can I have an Evocation II now, please?

74/100

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven: http://metaltube.freeforums.org/eluveitie-origins-t3728.html)
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