Eluveitie- Ancient music given new life

The Slania Era Band

Chrigel at the front. The mad piper Sevan to the right. His brother, Rafi, showing off his tattoos to the rear.
Chrigel at the front. The mad piper Sevan to the right. His brother, Rafi, showing off his tattoos to the rear.

Of Fire Wind and Wisdom from the Spirit Album

Eluveitie is a band of musicians from Switzerland. Because of the difficult pronunciation of the band’s name, they’ve been required on numerous occasions to explain that it’s pronounced “El-Vay-Tee”. One could spend hours arguing on the nuances of the band’s influences. Many people say they are progressive rock, others say death metal, others say folk music.

It’s most commonly accepted that the band specializes in Celtic folk metal. The first formed in 2002 and spent much of their time touring various venues through Switzerland and its surrounding states until 2006, when their first album entitled “Spirit” was released. Their success was quickly ensured thanks to their eclectic mix of various sounds and instruments used.

Originally, Eluveitie was meant to be a collaborative band, meaning that various musicians appeared to play parts in one or two songs before leaving the stage to allow others their own time in the spotlight. This was the case when they released their early 2003 demo “Ven”, which made use of seven musicians who were, unfortunately, never to be heard from again on any of the band’s later albums.

The ringleader, lead singer, and songwriter, Chrigel Glanzmann, started the band, envisioning an amalgamation of traditional Celtic instruments with modern day heavy metal guitar and drums. To that effect Chrigel plays the mandola, gaita, pennywhistle, pipe-flute, acoustic guitar, and bodhran when the situation calls for it. He also sings in a combination of modern-day English and Gaulish, an extinct language used by the early Swiss tribe, the Helvetians, for which the band is named.

 

In addition to instruments played by Glanzmann, the current band consists of seven other members: Meri Tadic provides high-ranging vocals and plays the violin, Merlin Sutter is a drummer of ferocious strength and stamina, Simeon Koch wails on lead guitar with Ivo Henzi to back him up, Anna Murphy plays the hurdy gurdy, Kay Brem plays bass guitar, and Pade Kistler bats cleanup with the bagpipe and pennywhistle.

It should be noted that several key members of the band have since moved on. The metal brother team of Sevan Kirder, who played both bagpipes and Ulian pipes with absolutely incredible breath control, and Rafi Kirder, who raged across the stage with a low-slung bass and kilt, baring his full-body Celtic tattoos for all to see, left the band citing creative issues with Glanzmann shortly after the second album “Slania” was released in mid-2008.

For the discerning music lover, one will notice a slight difference in sound between the Spirit-era Eluveitie and its Slania-era counterpart. This may be due in part to the absence of Sarah Wauquiez. This talented young woman produced mid-level vocals in a surprisingly even tune when she wasn’t grinding away at the hurdy gurdy, playing the crummhorn, or working the Helvetic Accordion.

Normally with such a huge combination of instruments one would think the only thing they can produce with any degree of regularity is an almighty racket. I certainly thought so when I heard of them, but when I heard them, I happily ate my words. Give them a listen, and I leave any further decisions up to you.

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Comments 9 comments

Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 7 years ago from Hither and Yonder

I love the music, but that voice would take some getting used too.


Jarn profile image

Jarn 7 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

I don't typically go in for screaming myself, however I find that the more I listen to it, the more it seems appropriate. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 7 years ago from United States

I could get used to this band. Even the Grunge-type voice, given time. :-)


Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 7 years ago from Hither and Yonder

Yah know, after listening to a few more songs, I might have to add this group to my Pandora station. ;)


LiftedUp profile image

LiftedUp 7 years ago from Plains of Colorado

What a beautiful blend of music from all those different instruments, and how lovely to know that the creativity is carried on from one period of time to another. I love the fact that we have access to the instrumental and vocal sounds from the 1600's (and before), and that there is always someone who is interested in taking up some of the older instruments and learning to play them. I rather liked that very throaty voice, though I would not choose it for an every-day listening session.

Thanks for opening this group up for me.


jack 6 years ago

eluveitie is such a good band. i had the honor of seeing them live and exchanging words with anna and chrigel. im glad you all had the opportunity to be introduced to such a great celtic metal band


Jarn profile image

Jarn 6 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

Cool. It's kind of sad they had to change out their piper and bassist since before the instrumental album, but their newest, Everything Remains, is really powerful. They've lost some of the fire, but have refined melodically a great deal.


5 years ago

I would let Chrigel destroy me.


TheHeavyReview profile image

TheHeavyReview 4 years ago

Eluveitie is killer! Their new album, Helvetios, is definitely an improvement over Everything Remains. Spirit and Slania are still great, as always.

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