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Eluvietie - Ategnatos

Label: Nuclear Blast
Format: Download
Released: 2019
Reviewed By: Jack Mangan
Rating: 8.5/10

This band is the bane of spellchecker programs.
Eluvietie's schtick is to fuse hard Thrash/Death sounds from the likes of In Flames, Pantera, Dimmu Borgir, Rotting Christ, modern day Testament, Lamb of God, Arch Enemy, Gojira, etc. with traditional Celtic folk music, like The Chieftains or The Irish Rovers. And intentional or not, I also hear some commonalities between their folk musings and Klezmer music, like The Klezmatics. Eluvietie achieve this sound through the use of Gothenburg Death and Djent (kinda hate that term, but anyway. . .) guitar tunings, riffage, drum attack, and guttural male vocals, along with fluttery co-lead female vocals and traditional folk instruments, like a hurdy-gurdy, bagpipes, dulcimers, and a variety of flutes and pipes. They've kept their sound pretty extreme throughout their career, while their recent offshoot, Cellar Darling, consisting of a few departed members, are bit more mainstream in sound.


With all of that out of the way, we can address their 2019 release, "Ategnatos." From a full record perspective, it starts strong with the lead single and title track, but then loses its way a bit. It’s not until the final two-thirds of the album that it really finds its groove again. The first third would get a ranking of 7.5 or 8 out of 10, and the rest, starting at the lovely instrumental interlude, “The Silvern Glow,” would get a solid 9 out of 10.
Eluvietie are most successful when they go all in, either with the Folk melody or the Thrash aggression. What doesn’t work is when they try to walk some kind of middle ground - - or when they tread in the mundane with footworn chord progressions.
Highlights: “The Silvern Glow,” the pounding of “Mine Is the Fury,” the title track, and the “Tinoxtion” interlude, leading into my personal favorite: “Threefold Death.” This latter one is the exception to my earlier criticism. “Threefold Death” perfectly blends the beauty and the ultra-heavy beast.

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