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Helvetios by Eluveitie
Released: Jan 2012
Label: Nuclear Blast
One of the most blatant European folk-metal hybrids to chart in the U.S., Helvetios is one long album: 17 tracks, including a spoken prologue and epilogue about life, death and art. It is also very schizophrenic, its personality split precipitously between competently grunted melodic death metal and Celtic jousting jigs that let in tin whistles, mandolins, hurdy-gurdies and bagpipes. In "Havoc," the reeling turns fast and jolly; more often, it's rather morose. "A Rose For Epona" and "Alesia" veer closer to Within Temptation-type, goth-diva unicorn-metal. Renaissance Faire, meet thy future.
CHUCK EDDY