Eluveitie: Spirit
Eluveitie - Spirit - [Fear Dark Records]


The first full length release by Switzerland's folk metal masters Eluveitie is easily one of the best folk metal albums I've heard, not just lately but ever, this is the reason the genre was created, to infuse real folk with real metal, being heavy and yet feeling exotic and earthbound, this album feels just right.

The instrumental opening track starts off the proceedings with a heavy dose of folk instruments, sitting in with a traditional chant of some kind, then the metal kicks in with one of the best riffs on the album. "Uis Elveti" is a more traditional number, death growls with heavy guitars and the usual folk instruments, fiddle and the likes, it may sound like a million other Scandinavian folk bands, but it's just better than most, its heaviness isn’t hindered by the folk side of the music, it compliments it perfectly.

The folk side of the album is certainly more Celtic oriented than the usual Scandinavian aspect of most current folk bands, that adds a lot of originally to the band, the fact the guys can play their metallic instruments as well is just what's needed to make this work.

"Of Fire, Wind & Wisdom" plays like a black metal version of Braveheart, strong fiddle opening with some blast-beats following it, the verse section is more typical folk metal, but again, something about this just feels more mature and less caricature-like than many other acts. That may be one of the band's real strengths, it doesn’t sound forced, in this release folk and metal sound as if they were born for each other.

Some of the heaviest songs lend heavily from Swedish death metal, such as "The Song Of Life", it starts off as a song by At The Gates before the flute chimes in, this will probably make release acceptable even for regular death metal heads, this is still as heavy as hell.

I can wax lyrical about this album all day, But I have to just recommend you give it a listen yourselves, easily one of 2006's best albums yet.

Alon Miasnikov

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