Album Review – Eluveitie “Helvetios” 2012

  I should begin by mentioning that Eluveitie still rock the house with one of the biggest and most raucous live shows around right now. On-stage they are one of the best metal bands operating, whether you include the “folk” prefix or not. This review is for recorded material only. 

Helvetios surpasses  Eluveitie’s 2010 record Everything Remains as it Never Was in several ways: 

It is faster: by and large Helvetios is a thrashier record than its predecessor. There’s quite a bit of full-bore headbanging with beats just shy of blast velocity. 

It is louder: although there are quieter sections, spoken word bridges and show-stopping ballad “A Rose for Epona” included as part of the journey, the mix is dominated by death vocals and pushes the traditional musical elements away from the centre. 

It is angrier: the concept of Helvetios is a retelling of the historical period of Roman persecution of the Helvetii tribe during the Gallic Wars. The album is boundless in its fury towards Rome’s cultural imperialism; one wonders if a meeting between Celt-positive Eluveitie and Canadian metallic Caesar-freaks Ex Deo would result in some sort of rumble. 

All this being said, the record cannot outstrip the previous release in one critical category: 

It is not as cohesive. In the end, Helvetios is faster, louder and harder but it really isn’t any better. I don’t see myself returning to it nearly as often as I do ERAINW. This is by no means a failure – this is simply a band branching out in new directions and trying different things while remaining true to their fanbase. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next. 7.5 out of 10

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