Eluveitie - The Early Years (Nuclear Blast Records)
By: Mike Sloan
[8/10] Eluveitie is a band that can and should be either loved or loathed because they are one of the bands that kick started the entire pagan/folk metal scene. Regardless if there were 50 bands that came before Eluveitie who played a similar style of metal (there were), it doesn’t matter because they were among the first to really make an impact on the ancillary metal fans.
Granted, the mighty Amorphis were arguably the first true folk band. I remember many, many years ago before Elegy came out, in an interview with the band in the late, great Metal Maniacs magazine, the interviewer (it’s unforgiveable that I cannot remember who it was) jokingly dubbed Amorphis’ style of music as folk metal. The band and the interviewer (still can’t remember who it was) chuckled about the term. Fast forward to now and there’s an entire scene based around folk metal.
Back to Eluveitie: They are, right or wrong according to a precise timeline, among the forefathers of the entire pagan/folk scene, the one where traditional instruments are used to coincide with the proper metal guitars and drums. The genre where there are accordions, horns, violins, flutes, harps, and plenty of shuffling/festive beats alongside the killer atmospheric and dramatic melodies. There’s plenty of chanting and clean singing, too, as well as female vocals.
When Eluveitie finally “made it big” that’s when the parrots and clones burst out of nowhere, like a broken pipe gushing water. Like all the great pioneers of a certain genre (Metallica, Slayer, Pantera, Cannibal Corpse, Mayhem, Cradle of Filth, Meshuggah, etc.), suddenly there were a million bands copying off of each other who seemingly all copied off Eluveitie and their few contemporaries. Though Finntroll had been doing their thing for several years already, Eluveitie made the scene open up, similar to how Nirvana always got credit for creating the grunge scene though bands like Sonic Youth were already around for years.
To celebrate one of Switzerland’s finest exports’ first decade of existence, the band and Nuclear Blast have gotten together to create and release The Early Years, an awesome memoir so to speak about where the band came from and what they’ve achieved in what actually amounts to a short time on top.
The two-disc digipak collection features their landmark Vên EP fully re-recorded with current technology. The sound is clearer and sharper compared to the original, but it simply boils down to personal taste as to which version is better. To richen the pot, Eluveitie has also tossed in a previously unreleased track “Divico” but that can only be heard if you purchase The Early Years directly from Eluveitie’s website.
Eluveitie official website