O2 Academy Islington, London
Tuesday 11th November 2014
"...here the women met them holding swords and axes in their hands. With hideous shrieks of rage they tried to drive back the hunted and the hunters. The fugitives as deserters, the pursuers as foes. With bare hands the women tore away the shields of the Romans or grasped their swords, enduring mutilating wounds."
The New Wave Of Folk Metal descends upon Londinières on a rainy Tuesday night and is greeted by adoring masses. Like the Helvetii chieftain Vercingetorix who rose up against Caesar's legions, Chrigel Glanzmann leads his battle hardened warriors in a rebellion against the formulated, the staid, the ordinary.
But where Vercingetorix was ultimately narrowly beaten by Caesar's armies, Glanzmann is utterly victorious and his "scorched earth" strategy is proving very effective as Eluveitie, this modern day musical wonder, conquers all in its wake.
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Although their campaign is now over a decade old, it still feels like a new phenomenon. Their sound conjures up an imagery that really is something to behold as the bodhràn, hurdygurdy and tin whistles all interact magically with the drums, guitars and heavy vocal to carry you off to a land of bards, druids, hobbits, dwarves and ancient men. Come close your eyes, you can see them too...
Eluveitie - minstrels or warriors? That's for you to decide...
"An rud a nithear gu math, chithear a bhuil."
This is indeed an impressive turnout for a Tuesday evening and it's difficult to get a decent view in the Academy but the hordes are left in no doubt whatsoever that this is more than just a performance; it's an experience.
Epic tales of battle, wondrous stories of lost, forgotten kingdoms and magical pictures of heroes and heroines, all captured perfectly in a performance that grips you from beginning to end.
Eluveitie bring Celtic legend to life by transporting you back to a time when legends were born and history was created. The tree remains, but not the hand that planted it yet Eluveitie return us to the origins and bring about an evocation of spirit.
The songs captivate, the instrumentation mesmerises and it seems as though the academy stage is not big enough for this collection of Auvergne, not just in number but in sheer epicness.
"Most Celts scorned the use of Armour and before about 300 B.C. preferred to fight naked. Some Celtic tribes still fought naked at the battle of Telamon in 225 B.C."
One is missing in battle and the warriors are but seven in number this evening. Bagpipe player Päde Kistler is strangely absent and although Chrigel touches on the fact that the band are one man down, no explanation is forthcoming and no information is available as to why he is not in London.
Yet, the sound is still full and the songs lose none of their depth or meaning.
Nestled deep in the folds of Bardic wisdom, the realm of sacred Celtic storytelling, is the story of the Seven Swans Of Virtue; seven magical swans were born and their names were Faith, Truth, Purity, Strength, Patience, Kindness and Temperance.
Air rèir do mheas ort fhèin 'S ann a mheasas càch thu.
The origins of Folk Metal can be debated long into the night. Lists of essential Folk Metal albums will include Amorphis' 'Tales From The Ten Thousand Lakes' from 1994 and Skyclad preceded them with the epic 'Wayward Sons Of Mother Earth' in 1990.
But were the 'founding fathers' the one and only Jethro Tull, who in 1989 bizarrely beat Metallica to a Grammy for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance?
They appear to have gone full circle now with Ian Anderson promising that his new music moving forward from Tull will be "a folk-prog-Metal hybrid".
Whoever started the "genre" and from wherever it sprang forth is not as important as its future and Eluveitie are certainly carrying the banner for the whole movement right now and long may that continue.
"If you weigh well the strength of the armies, and the causes of the war, you will see that in this battle you must conquer or die. This is a woman's resolve. As for the men, they may live and be slaves!"
Boudicca, Celtic Goddess
This is E for Excellence
This is E for Exquisite
This is E for Everlasting
This is E for Eluveitie
Carry The Torch
De Ruef vo de Bärge
Kingdom Come Undone
The Silver Sister
A Rose For Epona
Quoth The Raven
Chrigel Glanzmann: vocals, mandola and mandolin, tin and low whistles, bodhràn
Merlin Sutter: drums
Rafael Salzmann: guitar
Nicole Ansperger: violin
Ivo Henzi: guitar
Anna Murphy: hurdygurdy, vocals, flute
Kay Brem: bass
Päde Kistler: bagpipes, tin and low whistles; missing in action
Confirmed tour dates:
18.11.2014 Germany Leipzig Hellraiser
19.11.2014 Germany Herford X
20.11.2014 Germany Bremen Tivoli
21.11.2014 Germany Bochum Matrix
22.11.2014 Germany Hamburg Gruenspan
23.11.2014 Holland Eindhoven Effenaar
25.11.2014 Germany Köln Essigfabrik
26.11.2014 Czech Republic Prague Meet Factory
27.11.2014 Poland Krakow Fabryka
28.11.2014 Poland Warsaw Progresja
29.11.2014 Poland Szczecin Slowianin
30.11.2014 Germany Berlin SO 36
02.12.2014 Germany Heidelberg Halle O2
03.12.2014 Luxembourg Esch-Sur-Alzette Kulturfabrik
04.12.2014 Germany Ludwigsburg Rock Fabrik
05.12.2014 Germany München Backstage
06.12.2014 Germany Geiselwind Music Hall
07.12.2014 Germany Lindau Vaudeville
09.12.2014 Slovenia Ljubljana Kino Siska
10.12.2014 Hungary Budapest Club 202
11.12.2014 Slovakia Bratislava Majestic
12.12.2014 Austria Wien Szene
13.12.2014 Austria Salzburg Rockhouse
20.12.2014 France Limoges CC John Lennon
27.12.2014 Switzerland Wetzikon Eluveitie & Friends IV
04.02.2015 Portugal Porto Hard Club
05.02.2015 Portugal Lissabon RCA Club
07.02.2015 France TBC TBC
08.02.2015 France Toulon Vox
13.02.2015 Greece Athens Kyttaro Live
14.02.2015 Greece Thessaloniki Eightball
15.02.2015 Bulgaria Sofia Mixtape5
16.02.2015 Romania Bukarest Colectiv Club
17.02.2015 Ukraine Kiev Yunost Club
18.02.2015 Russia Minsk Re:Public
19.02.2015 Russia Krasnodar Arena
20.02.2015 Russia Moscow Red
21.02.2015 Russia Ekaterinburg Teleclub
22.02.2015 Russia St. Petersburg Zal Club
11.04.2015 Brazil Sao Paulo Carioca Club
12.04.2015 Brazil Rio de Janeiro Teatro Odissela
14.04.2015 Brazil Curitiba Music Hall
15.04.2015 Argentina Buenos Aires Teatro Vorterix
16.04.2015 Chile Santiago Blondie Club
18.04.2015 Mexico Mexico City Circo Volador
19.04.2015 Mexico Guadalajara C3 Stage
25.09.2015 South Africa Johannesburg Carfax Newton
26.09.2015 South Africa Johannesburg Carfax Newton