Release Date: 5th April 2019
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records
I have listened to Eluveitie for a number of years now, but (perhaps due to there not being a release in a good while) they had dropped off my radar a little bit. Ategnatos was as good a reason as any to get them back on my music rotation.
Ambient noise, and a softly spoken male with a distinctive accent start us off in the title track, building up the overall theme of the album. Drums and strings, and then flute being us into the title track, Ategnatos. You can’t be mistaken that this is anyone but Eluveitie. The main body of the track begins with a female vocal, and the music becomes fast paced and harsh male vocals take over. There are flute solos which bring the jig to the track, and then contrasting chugging and harsh vocals, which do also include the flute melodies. The track ends with more ambience, leading into the female word of Ancus and then straight into Deathwalker with hurdy gurdy and then hitting you with a hard, fast, and heavy instrumental.
The instrumental of Deathwalker strips back a little with hurdy gurdy, guitar and drums and the harsh vocals. The female vocals are back, and there is some more female spoken word over the instrumental. There is another Eluveitie flute solo and the male spoken word before back to the full band. Acoustic guitar and flute introduces Black Water Dawn, and the flute is still prominent when the full band kicks in. We once again have more flute solos and female vocals, but so far every track is distinct and unique. A Cry in the Wilderness lulls us into a sense of calm before hitting us again with a hard and heavy instrumental with flute over the top. There is a calming interlude before the instrumental builds back up, and the track fades out.
The Raven Hill starts out with a slower pace, with hurdy gurdy and a string melody, and there is an almost Gregorian style vocal with male and female voices. It’s a track with a catchy beat and melody, and the chorus almost sounds a little like the traditional “Drunken Sailor” melody. The Silvern Glow is a short instrumental track with flute and acoustic guitar, which leads into Ambiramus. The intro is very dancey, and sounds just like a party. But this very quickly changes to a calm instrumental with female vocal. There are contrasting sections of calm and more folky elements to the track.
Guitars and a gutteral roar make a fast and pit-worthy intro to Mine Is The Fury. This track feels more traditional heavy metal with a hint of folk, and the folk element increases throughout the track, there is a hurdy gurdy interlude, with harsh vocals throughout. Another track with a calming introduction, The Slumber brings female vocals, a catchy chorus, another flute solo and harsh male spoken word over a hurdy gurdy melody.
Worship has a more modern twist, with a distorted voice, as if on a radio, with sirens in the background, as if some disaster had hit a city, and a man is desperately trying to relay his story. It’s a twisted, almost chaotic track, as the words and instrumental describe some sort of demon or devil. Female spoken word over breeze through trees, strings and a flute melody bring us an interlude track Trinoxtion. Threefold Death has a calm female vocal followed by blasts of heaviness, and when the full band comes in, the harsh male vocal is back.
Breathe has a beautiful atmospheric introduction, and then it slows with a flute melody over the top and female vocal. Then a big contrast with heavy and harsh instrumentals and a guitar solo. There are also choral vocals and spoken word before going back to the main body of the track. Ending the track is a choir and an accompanying violin. Cries, a hard, heavy and fast instrumental, and a vocal roar introduce Rebirth. There is calm with a fast flute melody, and a female vocal over the ambient noise before back to harsh male vocals and fast instrumental. The chorus is a little more folky, and there is a breakdown of tense violin and flute melody before a key change with dual vocals, the female being more dominant.
Eclipse brings the album to a close with atmosphere, drone, and female vocal which fades out slowly.
Before I say anything negative, I won’t say that there is anything inherently wrong with this album. The composition and quality of the tracks are fantastic, it is difficult to fault the individual tracks. However, for me, it does seems like there are a few too many track on this album. I think for bands who haven’t released in quite a few years, there can be a danger that there can be too many songs, just to put out as much material as possible to “make up” for the time between albums. Sadly I feel that Eluveitie might have fallen foul a little of this, but that does not diminish from the quality of the individual tracks themselves. I’m really looking forward to checking out Eluveitie live at Bloodstock Festival this year, as I missed them at Wacken Winter Nights back in February.
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