Eluveitie – Helvetios

Well this isn’t the first time I’ve been late to the party. People have been clamoring praise for Eluveitie for a few years now but I never really climbed on the bandwagon. Now, to my chagrin, I’m awkwardly running through the muddy streets trying not to slip in sheep dung while chasing after the wagon. Eluveitie are a Swiss folk-metal band and “Helvetios” is their fifth album. I am unable to pronounce the band or album name with any degree of accuracy, but the music on this album blows me away.

This is the album that Turisas’ 2010 “Stand Up and Fight” should have been (as opposed to the gay Vikings on Broadway fiasco it was. Nothing against gay Vikings mind you, I just don’t think Turisas pulled off what they were going for. I think they wanted epic and symphonic and it was actually more like show tunes).

“Helvetios” is chock-full of cool metal music and amply adorned in folk instrumentation as well. The two have always melded well and this album is a superb example. The guitars are bright and crisp and the vocals are slightly harsh and raspy but very intelligible. I could almost hear them on an Amon Amarth album. I should add that aside from the raspy vocals there are also clean folk vocals and some lead female vocal work as well. The guitars/drums and various vocal styles alone would make for a great album, but adding the melodic and tuneful folk elements is the icing on the cake. There’s no shortage of music either; “Helvetios” has 17 tracks and clocks in at 60 minutes.

This feels like an important album to me. I have a feeling it will do much to bring them to the attention of the metal masses. I see they are currently on tour with Children of Bodom; that will certainly help too. The great songs combined with the variety of styles are just so very impressive. The title track is a great example of the full-on heavy metal with folk style, while “A Rose For Epona” features an intro that sounds all “Braveheart” before becoming a modern sounding female-lead vocal triumph that shows Evanescence how it is supposed to be done.

If you pick up one album this week I would have to say this is the one you should get. Check this band out.