Eluveitie – Slania (Nuclear Blast Records)

Thursday, 14th March 2013
Rating: 8.5/10

Scheduled to take part in the inaugural Paganfest with Ensiferum, Tyr, and Turisas (drools on keyboard…), Switzerland’s Eluveitie is the newest participant in the ever-expanding folk metal arena. Part Battlelore, part Dark Tranquillity (especially in the more up-tempo segments), topped off with a little Finntroll jig, Eluveitie have conjured up a very memorable, satisfying debut withSlania.

If there was one thing that continually sucks the wind out of folk metal’s sails is the preponderance of filler material on any given record. Check out any recent Battlelore, Turasis and even Korpiklaani album and there’s usually two or three rowdy, melodic throw-downs, while the rest comes off as a half-hearted piss in the wind. Magically, Eluveitie has elevated those qualms with 12 songs that speak volumes about their songwriting skills, which are quite significant.

Tracks of note include the spirited “Grey Sublime Archon” which is an odd mix of folk metal and German Goth metal masters Crematory (see: synths). The aforementioned DT comparison rears its head on “Bloodstained Ground” and “Tarvos” both of which are hard-charging romps through glorious epic metal territory.

“The Somber Lay” is wrought with Irish flutes (very Gaelic) and hurdy-gurdy, blended with more speed, while the more somber interludes of “Anagantiios” and “Glamonios” give the album a nice breather amidst the raucous folk metalling going on.

Let us hope Slania doesn’t get caught in the folk metal log-jam, ‘cause this is seriously one world-beater of an album, an early candidate for Top 10 lists and a standard-bearer for the epic folk metal scene for 2008. Excellent, glorious material that has this octet en route to things on a Moonsorrow level…

 www.eluvetie.ch

(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)