By Ola Mazzuca
Following the success of Helvetios, Eluveitie don’t hesitate to complete another full-length – even if they take a simpler route to curate a time capsule. Celebrating ten years in the metal scene, Eluveitie return to their humble beginnings by merging their debut album, Spirit with their first EP, Ven.
Setting the tone for their unique style and foreign motives, The Early Years begins with “D’vêritû Agâge D’bitu”, a high-energy, yet highly illegible track that presents bagpipes as an excitable, cool instrument. It plunges into the atmospheric “Ôrô” and dark “Lament” before elements of death metal appear on the heavy “Druid.”
With a blend of guttural and pummeling percussion atop classical bagpipes, whistles and gaita comes “Of Fire, Wind & Wisdom” a quintessential, all-encompassing Eluveite track that captures the band’s insight through atmospheric tone. Beautiful notes intertwine on “Spirit,” a track so full of its title, with nature samples of bird and breeze to close. “Uis Elvetiz” is a fine plane of tempo, intricacy and standard elements of heavy metal, representing Eluveitie’s adaptability and service to such a wide audience.
As progenitors of the New Wave of Folk Metal, it’s no wonder that Eluveitie excel in writing “battle cry” songs to top the Swiss Alps. “The Dance of Victory,” “The Song of Life,” and “The Endless Knot” form a concluding triptych of Helvetian themes and Eluveitie’s interpretation of primitive storytelling. They have every right to fall under their given sub-genre, for Eluveitie are innovators in transforming old into new, one that an international metal community can learn and follow without confusion or disinterest. The Early Years is a decade of primal folk, and a document that has evidently shaped one of metal’s most extreme divisions today.