First off, this is folk metal. If you hated the Lord of the Rings, this may not be you cup of tea. There are folk style instruments, whimsical lyrics about far away places, battles and melancholy memories throughout. There is a mix of clear female and raspy male vocals. There are moments of double bass and guitar heaviness interspersed with fiddles and hurdy-gurdy. To put this another way, if you hated the Hobbit, this is a pass for you.
Once you accept the material and that this band is a theme band, the music is actually fairly creative even though it’s formulaic. The album starts off with the wistful young girl voice, grandiose keys and folk instruments, sort of a full disclosure to what is coming with the rest of the album. After the intro, the title track kicks in with heavy drums, guitar riffage, and the growly male vocals. The folk instruments pop back in for the choruses, along with female vocals. If this sounds like a familiar formula it certainly is. With bands like Eluveitie you are getting this formula almost every time, and the success or failure of the album depends on how well the bands employ this formula in each track and on the album as a whole.
Eluveitie do the standard folk instrumental (Insara) with acoustic guitars as well, they pull it off to a large extent, but again, it will depend on how much you like that type of music. It might be boring filler, it might be hobbit nonsense, or it might be a mood setting interlude. It is, per the formula, followed by a track starting with raging guitars. The entire album follows this push pull style, alternating the heavy and the soft, the clean female and the raspy male, modem guitar vs. folksy fiddles, which is basically what one expects from a folk metal album. The musicianship is not mind blowing, but it’s not sub par either.
Overall this a pretty good take on the folk metal theme. It’s not as technically well done as a band like Suidakra might do it, but it’s not bad either. At times I really did want to build a viking boat and conquer England. There is a lot of cross over here with some other genres, but none so much as the Gothenburg style. Formulaic and a little cheesy, but those things are sort of par for the course with this genre so if your a fan of this music, do not let that stop you. Working within those confines, this is a well done album and a good effort from Eluveitie.
02. Everything Remains As It Never Was
05. The Essence Of Ashes
07. Kingdom Come Undone
08. Quoth The Raven
11. Sempiternal Embers
13. The Liminal Passage