I write reviews for musical albums. My main genre is metal, but I will probably do some hard rock as well. Any reviews other than the two most recent are shown on the right hand side under the "Blog Archive" tab. Thanks for reading!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Eluveitie- Ven EP

Artist:  Eluveitie

Album: Ven (EP)

Year:  2003

Score:  75/100

“A More Aggressive Eluveitie”

Of all the Eluveitie releases out there, it seems that this one gets the most hate.  I honestly can’t understand this viewpoint at all.  No, it’s not really the most creative thing out there; yet it’s still solid, especially for a debut release.  There are several problems I have with it, but it’s still something I find enjoyable from time to time. 

“Ven” is the most raw and aggressive of everything Eluveitie has made.  Even compared to “Spirit” this is very untamed and heavy sounding.  It’s also much faster than some of their other work.  This aggressiveness really captures the spirit of Eluveitie’s music in some of the songs, but in others it seems unnecessary.  The guitars, vocals, and drums are particularly aggressive, compared to the rest of the band’s work.  The drums are more in the traditional death metal style, as they are much faster and blast beats are used throughout the course of the EP.  Sometimes, this does get in the way of the rest of the music.  I also feel that they are a little too loud in the mix.  The guitars also have a pretty bad sound to them; to the point where they blur and turn into a wall of sound (and not in a good way).  I can overlook this to a degree, but I think the album would have been better if they had used a similar guitar sound to that of their later albums.  Perhaps the band didn’t have the money for a good production job, or maybe they just applied too much overdrive on their guitars.  Either way, they sound pretty bad.  Despite this sound, the guitar riffs are louder and more driving than on any other Eluveitie release.  Chrigel Glanzmann’s vocals are a lot deeper on “Ven” than on the releases that came afterwards.  I actually enjoy this lower vocal style, as it suits the songs well.  There are also many choir type vocals that grace the songs of the album.  While these are cheesy at some points, I feel that they do generally work well with the songs.  “Druid” is a notable one, as it utilizes these vocals towards the end of the song.

The folk instruments have the same muddy sound as the guitars.  They are also not nearly as interesting as on future releases, but they do their job.  Additionally, the folk instruments sound a lot less diverse, meaning that it sounds like there are fewer different instruments playing.  Some of the melodies provided by these instruments are good and interesting, but most of the time they do fall short of my expectations for this band.  There is a bit of atmosphere within the songs, but it’s doesn’t do much for the album; I notice it particularly in the songs “Druid” and “Lament”.

The songs themselves work really well in short bursts, but they overwhelm the listener if played repeatedly for a long time.  My personal favorite is “Druid”, and I would put it up there with some of the band’s best work.  Chrigel is a monster on this song, as his vocal performance is aggressive and menacing.  The intro and outro to the EP are both really annoying pieces, and the narration during the intro is particularly bad.  I generally hate Eluveitie’s instrumentals, especially the folk ones.  “Oro” is no exception to this rule.  It’s even worse because the folk melodies are not good at all, they’re even worse than in the metal songs from this EP.  Luckily, “Lament” is good song.  It has a cool dynamic to it, though the folk parts are not very respectable.  “Uis Elveti” later appeared on the “Spirit” album; it’s a harsh song, for sure.  The later version is a lot more refined and probably more pleasing to most listeners.  I still like them both, though I favor the “Spirit” version myself.

So, overall, this is still an alright release.  It gets awfully annoying at times and, yet, I still can’t bring myself to give it a bad score.  Given the context and format of the EP, it’s really not that bad.  I wouldn’t recommend this to any newbies to the folk metal genre, or even to newbies of the band.  In fact, I only recommend this to people who are already familiar with the bulk of Eluveitie’s discography.  While the release has some great songs and a nice atmosphere, the production is terrible and the sound of the instruments is abrasive and irritating.  A better sound job might have made this one of my favorites from the band.  I guess it kind of is already, but I like “Spirit”, “Helvetios” (the new one) and “Slania” much better.
Best songs:  “Uis Elveti”, “Lament”, “Druid”.

Worst songs/negatives:  “D’veritu Agage D’Bitu”, “Oro”, and “Jezaig”; the individual instruments sound terrible.

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