Archive for Helvetii

Album Review – Eluveitie “Helvetios” 2012

Posted in Album Reviews, Sevens to Nines with tags , , , , , on April 2, 2012 by Lightning Slim

  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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Album Review – Samael “Lux Mundi” 2011

Posted in Album Reviews, FourFiveSix with tags , , , , , on January 12, 2012 by Lightning Slim

  Don’t get too excited. Samael seem to have rewound their sound close to the beginning and are now replaying it. In 2009 they released Above, an admitted throwback to their black metal roots that almost (and maybe should have) come out as a side-project. With Lux Mundi they continue their time-travel, this time landing about mid-career with a record that would fit comfortably between Passage and Eternal. Perhaps too comfortably.

The band’s signature style is definitely on display: industrial beats with martial orchestral flourishes march steadily through each track with the pomp of a Roman Triumph. Unfortunately, while Lux Mundi (along with its accompanying Antigod EP) capture the flavour of imperial majesty, they also contain something of a parade’s tedium and contrived artificality.

There’s nothing strictly wrong with the material, it’s just that what sounded revolutionary on Passage and confidently dominant on Reign of Light or Solar Soul now seems a bit tired and forced. It brings to mind the worrying notion that Xy and Vorph may not have any tools left, at least none that fit into the Samael toolbox. Panem et circenses! 6 out of 10

Album Review – Eluveitie “Everything Remains as it Never Was” 2010

Posted in Album Reviews, Sevens to Nines with tags , , , , on May 1, 2010 by Lightning Slim

 Folk metal’s not normally my bagpipe, but I was more than pleasantly surprised by the serious chops this eight-piece Swiss outfit brought to their set opening up for Amon Amarth in April. Everything was tight, loud and performed with gusto. I’ve never someone fully rock out the hurdy-gurdy before, but Anna Murphy put the grind in organ grinder;  hair whips and all.

The disc doesn’t quite capture the feel of the live performance, but it comes close. It’s well-produced and contains plenty of both traditional music and metal of the melodic death variety. My only quibble would be that the two are somewhat divorced in the song structure of the album, which is sort of folk song-metal song-folk-folk-metal-metal-folk with few examples of the cross-pollination of which they are capable (as per their live show) and which I think is their true strength. It’s a minor complaint; the whole thing is enjoyable on its own terms. Now that fellow Helvetians Samael have gone old-school pagan again, can an all-Swiss tour be far behind?

If you’ve always wanted Kalmah to get into a mud fight with the Mediæval Bæbes during a barn-raising, here it is. 8 out of 10

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