If we were to look for an example for the Japanese proverb “Perseverance prevails”, we only need to look into the story of Eluveitie. Founded in Winterthur, Zurich, in Switzerland, by the band’s vocalist Chrigel Glazmann, Eluveitie is about to release their 8th album Ategnatos on April 5th, 2019, which has created already some hyped among fans. “Ategnatos” is the gaelic word for reborn.
The band dropped a trailer a few days ago for the new song collection, followed by the first single for the upcoming album: “Ambiramus“. Chrigel, their lead man, has established that “Atnegatos” will be “some kind of revelation, a prophecy of the end of the world. Dark and severe in its atmosphere and charisma, and also hidden, arcane and elitist.”
Eluveitie is now a name that commands much adulation in folk metal scene and has come to be the most successful Swiss metal act of all time. However, the road leading up to such honour, wasn’t a paved one.
The journey of Eluveitie began as a studio project of the band’s main man Chrigel, after several failures at forming an actual band. Recorded with numerous independent artists, the EP Vên was released in 2002 which carved the band’s mark on metal music scene. The vision behind the album was to fuse Gothenburg styled melodic death metal with Celtic folk music which the band dubs as “The new wave of folk metal”. This experimental risky approach was very well received by the folk metal enthusiasts.
The success of the EP led to the formation of a full-fledged band. In 2006, the band released its first album Spirit, with Fear Dark Records. Soon after that, Eluveitie signed contract with Nuclear Blast and released one of its most successful albums Slania, which peaked at number 35 on the Swiss chart and 72 on German chart. This was the breakthrough which majorly bolstered the success of the band. Since then Eluveitie has released five more albums which were adored by folk metal listeners.
The name of the band comes from a wall inscription found in Mantua, Italy, which is believed to have been originated around 300 BC. In Etruscan letters, the engraving reads “eluveitie”, interpreted in the Etruscan language as “elvetios” (“The Swiss”). As the name suggests, the band takes its lyrical inspiration from ancient Gaulish myths. The folk tunes in their songs have been drawn from various sources, most commonly from Irish reels.
The infusion of Celtic folk music and melodic death metal; lyrics that are often in reconstructed ancient Gaulish language and usage of folk instruments such as bagpipes, tin whistles, harp, hurdy gurdy. All these together have established a very distinctive identity of the band, that has been preserved throughout the entire decade of their career.
Since the foundation of the band, they have gone through several and quite frequent changes in line up. Most notably, in May 2016, during a tour in Asia, one of the major changes in the band’s line-up was announced. The band parted ways with three of its iconic members, namely Anna Murphy (hurdy gurdy and vocal), Ivo Henzi (guitar) and Marlin Sutter (drums).
This shocked the fans across the globe, who believe in the old saying that you do not change horses in midstream. They dreaded that this drastic change might diminish the band’s capability to maintain its signature style which according to the band is “Pure Fu**ing Folk Metal”. However, it’s rather impressive that despite all the changes, the flavor of Eluveitie’s music remains noticeably consistent. Even when it comes to live performance, the band’s maturity is very noticeable.
Their currently line up has nine members who observably perform as a well-organized collective. Chrigel Glanzmann’s gives his powerful voice and presence, along with soulful play on numerous folk instruments including tin whistle, mandola and bodhrán; the skillful play of viola by Nicole Ansperger whose return to the band was widely appreciated by fans; the graceful voice of their newest female vocalist and harper Fabienne Erni; the talented hurdy gurdy player Michalina Malisz, who has successfully proven to be capable of filling the shoes of Anna Murphy; all these performers are bringing the essence of Eluveitie to life, refusing to let their character slip.
After releasing their new album next month, Eluveitie will be going on tour, firstly on their homeland, Switzerland, where they will perform on Les Docks, in Lausanne, in the album’s debut day, 5th of April. One month later, they will take their sound to the other side of the world, heading to New Zealand, for concerts in Auckland and Wellington and Australia, where they will perform in many cities throughout May.
They will also perform in Copenhell, Denmark’s heavy metal festival, which occurs in their capital Copenhagen, in the 22th of June. The participation in this Danish venue, where bands like Scorpions, Slipknot and Eagles of Death Metal have already confirmed presence, show how Eluveitie has become a reference among, not only metal enthusiasts, but for casual listeners too.