By Jonathan Smith
Everything Remains As It Never Was is the fourth album from Swiss folk metallers Eluveitie. Its title, considering the band’s place in the growing mythology of folk and pagan metal, is suggestively profound. It’s a shame, then, that the music on this new offering just isn’t as enjoyable well as their previous work. Slania (2008) was a fun (yet earnest-sounding) collection of energetic celtic death metal, and Evocation 1 (2009) was a enjoyable and progressive experiment in acoustic folk songs and a variety of singing voices (despite some of its vocal stereotypes). Everything Remains As It Never Was simply doesn’t equal these earlier two efforts.
As rousing as the epic bagpipe-filled opening instrumental, “Otherworld,” could be, its English voice-over sounds corny rather than mood-setting. The title track, even after repeated listens, is as silly-sounding as it is annoyingly catchy. Another issue is that the “beauty and the beast” interplay between the male and female vocals still come off as sounding tiresome. It’s a feature that has become a grand stereotype in metal, and admittedly it’s difficult to do right these days. Despite the downsides, there are some good moments to be found on Everything Remains As It Never Was. “Isara” is a great, mostly acoustic instrumental that invokes exactly the kind of vibe that a good folk metal musical interlude should. “Quoth The Raven” features a powerful chorus, as well as an all-too-brief moment of female growling. “The Liminal Passage” is an atmospheric ending track, invoking the vibe that was missing from “Otherworld.”
When Evocation 1 was released last summer, it was suggested that it was to be the first album in a two-part concept series. There is little evidence to suggest that Everything Remains As It Never Was is the proper follow-up to that first part. It doesn’t have the same sort of feel, and the majority of songs sound like filler material that wasn’t included on Slania. Hopefully there is a companion album to Evocation 1still be produced in the near future. While Everything Remains As It Never Was is not nearly as strong as its predecessors, one can hope that Eluveitie will soon return with an album that is deserving of their growing standing in their sub-genre.
Everything Remains As It Never Was will be released on March 9th, 2010.