I’m often sceptical when a band releases a re-release of an album… especially when it is around Christmas time, but I will give Eluveitie the benefit of the doubt and not just because they are one of my favourite bands of all time. Yes the Swiss folk metal outfit have brought out a re-release to celebrate the tenth anniversary of their Slania album and while it doesn’t offer up many extras aside from some demos and an interview many people out there will be thankful that the album has re-surfaced again due to the fact that it was near impossible to buy a new copy of the old version in Australia.
I kind of came onto the Eluveitie scene a little late, they already had a few albums under their belt and then when I went searching for their back catalog I found that their early albums were quite hard to track down… luckily I had the legend at Radical Records on my side.
Aside from the rareness of the original album though Slania itself is an album that is really worth going back and taking a listen to. Like so many bands that change members over the years Eluveitie have become one of those bands where so many have squabbled over whether the band was better when Anna Murphy was doing the vocals or now that Fabienne Erni is the female vocalist that they have lost sight of the fact that back when they made Slania the band was on the brutal side of metal with Chrigel Glanzmann showing that he was (and still is) one of the finest metal vocalists going around.
That brutal side to Eluveite is well and truly on show for all on tracks like ‘Primordial Breath,’ ‘Inis Mona,’ ‘Grey Sublime Archon’ and ‘Tarvos.’ In typical Eluveite style though that brutality is normally mixed in well with some amazing folk metal sounds drifting through the darkness although tracks like ‘Bloodstained Grounds’ could be described as pure death metal.
As an album as a whole Slania is pure brilliance. Ivo Henzi and Simeon Koch’s guitar playing is brilliant throughout and ‘Slania’s Song’ was a pre-cursor of what to come with the beautiful vocals of Anna Murphy. If you haven’t already discovered the creativity and musicianship of Eluveitie then Slania is a great way to start and if you’re a true fan than the added demos will certainly be something that you want in your collection. Well worth a re-visit.