ELUVEITIE — Slania (review)

ELUVEITIE — Slania album cover Album · 2008 · Folk Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
Kev Rowland
Formed in 2002, Eluveitie ((/ɛlˈveɪti/ el-VAY-ti)) is a Celtic folk metal band from Switzerland, who use both Swiss and Celtic instruments alongside electric guitars and drums, while their songs are performed in a mix of languages which add to the timelessness of their sound. It was with their second full-length album, ‘Slania’, they started to make an impression on the wider scene, and at the end of 2018 Nuclear Blast released a tenth anniversary edition which has been extended from the original 12 songs to 19, with the inclusion of demos, alternate versions, and an interview. I should also make mention of the cover, where the young girl with the sword from the original has now aged ten years. These days there are quite a few bands pursuing the metal/folk path, and given I love both genres independently of each other, one would expect this style of music to be perfect for me, but unfortunately I often find it contrived, losing the majesty and beauty of both instead of combining together in a whole. That can certainly not be said of ‘Slania’ though, which is still as pummelling, uncompromising and forceful today as it was when it was originally released.

Bands in the genre need to listen to this as a perfect example of what can happen when everything is perfect. By now the band had honed their sound, and had had some success so were confident, and with guitars turned up loud and whistles and folk elements combining in a way so that one never overshadows the other, this really is a delight. The sound mix on this is extraordinary, so metal guitars never lose their edge or power, yet the acoustic guitar sounds right at home next to them, providing a beauty which heightens the force and doesn’t diminish it. It is as if Horslips had been transported from the Seventies and joined forces with a death metal act to create a many headed monster, where everyone vies for dominance but somehow it all stays in perfect harmony.

When this was originally released it was seen as one of the highlights of the genre, and ten years on nothing has diminished the beauty. I had forgotten just how good this is, I won’t make that mistake again.

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