There was a time when combining folk music with metal was one of the most genius innovations to be introduced to the genre. Eluveitie rode that wave out at flagship and have remained synonymous to folk metal ever since. Their latest album, Ategnatos, is a reaffirmation of the influence and power they hold today.
The new record balances intricate melodies with rhythmic riffs that remain chugging in support, hauntingly beautiful clean vocals from Erni with Glanzmann’s harsh, grim growls. The album is based on “archaic archetypes and the ancient concept of renewal.” Listening is an immersion into the Celtic mystic roots to the music, an exposure to a world so long gone that it remains quite beyond the horizon of contemporary perspectives. These ideas are reflected in lyrical epic masterpieces such as “A Cry in the Wilderness” and “Rebirth,” and quite literally leave the audience with a refreshed, wizened perspective on life.
Admittedly, nothing about the album is strikingly experimental or new, but the music remains refreshing and unique. Eluveitie is the perfect model of a band who managed to establish a band and signature sound without sounding repetitive and unoriginal. Indeed, this journey has been down a tightrope of balance, and that balance is what remains to integral to Eluveitie.
Ategnatos fulfills each one of the high bars and expectations this Swiss folk-metal band has set over the period of their career. From a spoken introduction to the integration of folk instruments and death metal elements to the harmonizing vocals of Glanzmann and Erni, the album yet again hits the sweet spot that has long since been reserved for each upcoming Eluveitie release and remains so.