There has definitely been something strange going on in Gothenburg and that something is ‘The New Wave of Folk Metal’. Eluveitie (spell check nightmare) are at the very front of the movement and their second full length album Slania was released in February 2008 on Nuclear Blast Records. That earlier description, lifted from the band’s website, doesn’t quite capture the whole thing though. How about pagan-metal? Or melodic death-metal? Or how about gothic-folk-pagan-metal-Gothenburg style?
Whatever you call it, Eluveitie have been around since 2002, having been formed by Chrigel Glanzmann. The first E.P. Ven gave an early indication of where the band was heading with a curious combination of metal and Celtic folk. It sold out within a few months. Eluveitie went through a whole host of line up changes but by the end of 2005 went into the studio to record their first full length album Spirit, and with it confirmed the progress of ‘New Wave of Folk Metal’. By the end of 2007 they began work on Slania. This year they are taking the album to the USA with tour dates throughout September and October before returning for a European tour for the rest of the year.
Slania is, in many ways, the fulfillment of Eluveitie’s vision and although folk-metal is nothing particularly new, they add their very own distinctive elements throughout the album. Certainly there is the mastery of the traditional instruments such as pipes, bagpipes, whistles, hurdy-gurdy, bodhran, uilleann pipes, mandola and a whole host of other Celtic folk sounds. With Glanzmann’s disturbingly powerful Gothenburg death-metal vocals to the fore and familiar crushing metal undercurrent, the band switch between the two effortlessly and somehow, as unlikely as it sounds, manage to tie it all together. It’s a powerful and intoxicating mix that either works for you or doesn’t, but rest assured there are plenty of bands in and around the scene that will keep folk-metal to the fore in the years to come.