M. Night FolkmetalIn 1999, M. Night Shyamalan wowed audiences with the mega-blockbuster The Sixth Sense. Everything came together perfectly--the right story, the right actors, the right tone--making for a film that was so popular it spawned a number of cliches and launched Shyamalan into superstardom. The writer/director's previous work never hinted at such brilliance, and his subsequent work has eventually proven that he was just a flash in the pan.
Eluveitie is folk metal's M. Night Shyamalan. In 2008, they blew just about everyone away with the brilliant Slania. In a pure, magical moment, they combined folk metal with melodic death metal so perfectly that it's never been matched before, or since. Particularly not by them. They experimented with a purer folk approach, then unsuccessfully tried to re-hash Slania. Now, they've once again attempted, and failed, to recapture any kind of magic.
Sure, there are still flashes of what made them great. "Meet the Enemy," "Havoc," and "Siege" are all great tracks. But there is a disturbing trend of mainstream-friendly material seeping into many of these songs, most notably on the two female vocal-led cuts, "Alesia" and "A Rose for Epona." The latter is even fit for rock radio, and the two of them together will probably get the band's female members on the cover of Revolver's "hottest chicks in metal" issue. You may think it's a stretch to find a folk metal band on the radio or touring with the likes of Lacuna Coil. But Apocalyptica's mainstream breakthrough once seemed just as unlikely.
In the end, the tracks don't fit together, despite the stated intent to create a concept album. And the material is far too weak to hold up across its hour-long runtime.
The Verdict: For me, this is Eluveitie's The Village. It's the moment when I finally realize the artist isn't that great, and had only one brilliant moment. Turns out, I'm not actually a fan. I give it 2 out of 5 stars.