Sheer beauty and brutality! That is the only way to describe Eluveitie live. This is a band that have been doing things differently to most others for nearly twenty years now, and along the way have managed to attract a dedicated bunch of fans who simply adore the band who mix instruments like the harp, hurdy-gurdy and bagpipes with beautiful folk vocals and then add some crushing death metal aspects into the mix.
To be honest I wasn’t sure that The Croxton would be a big enough venue for Eluveitie but the smaller venue actually enhanced the gig by the fact that the multiples members of the band were closer together on stage and the crowd could almost reach and touch the members as they performed. It was intimate which felt like it further enhanced the folk aspect of the group.
Playing before the main act was young Melbourne singer Victoria K who currently attracting attention worldwide and from her set it is easy to see why. She has a vocal range and stage awareness well above her years and she engaged well with the audience, there was no sign of nervousness even though this was her first time performing in front of an audience this large. She very quickly won over the crowd and with her voice and great tracks like ‘Lacuna’ and ‘Matrix’ it is very easy to see that she will soon be matching it alongside bands like Evanescence and Nightwish.
Then came the main act. A hush came over the entire venue as a spoken word intro almost seemed to warn of an invading Viking horde. The band then launched into the title track from their new album Ategnatos. This was followed with ‘King’ and ‘Nil’ which again showcase both the folk and brutal side of Eluveitie. It times it felt like a two wave army was hitting the audience. First the hurdy-gurdy, harp and violin would become the focus and then the amazing vocals from Chrigel Glanzmann and the more traditional instruments like guitar and bass.
Soon we also got to experience the power of Fabienne Erni’s vocals and she came in strongly on the chorus of ‘Black Water Dawn’. The brilliance of the duo then really showed on ‘Quoth The Raven’ and one of these singles ‘A Rose For Epona.’ By now it was easy to see that Eleuveitie are one of the best live bands in the world for raw passion and emotion to come across in their music.
Two sides of Eluveitie continued right through the set – we saw the beauty of classic tracks like ‘Lvgvs’ and ‘Epona’, right through to the downright haunting ‘Artio’ where Erni’s vocals pierced through the near dark room. Then there is the true harshness of tracks like ‘Havoc’ and what turned out to be the crowd favourite ‘Inis Mona.’
Eluveitie at The Croxton turned out to be one of the gigs of the year. It is amazing to sit back and watch instruments like the bagpipes and the hurdy gurdy be used in the metal world with such ease. Erni and Glanzmann show that they are two of the of the finest vocalists in the world and together this is a band that creates pure magic live. This was a show for the ages.