“What you hear on an Eluveitie record is what you get on at an Eluveitie show."
"Usually when we release an album we don't have any expectations, because you never really know what's going to happen,” Eluveitie vocalist Chrigel Glanzmann admits when he starts to reflect on the success of the band's fifth studio album proper. Over a year on from the release of Helvetios, Glanzmann still seems flummoxed by the album's success, which saw the band enter the top five of the album charts in their native Switzerland, as well as shooting up charts throughout Europe and the US. “Helvetios was something that we never expected, or ever thought could happen,” he continues. “It's been extremely well received, our most successful album so far. It was our first album to enter the US Billboard charts… It was weird for us, because there's a lot of melody in our music, but it's still extreme metal.
As for what was different on Helvetios, Glanzmann has no interest in speculating, besides suggesting that the band's restless touring, which is about to bring them to Australian stages, because that seems counter-intuitive. “We never would analyse something and say, 'Why did this do so well and what can we do to replicate that?' After all this is art, it's about creativity and doing what we want to do. Maybe on the next album we'll do something that everyone will hate and it will flop, but that's a chance we are willing to take. We never want to be, how you say, circumcised, by business thinking.”
As the band continue touring in support of Helvetios Glanzmann reveals that he's already turned his mind to the band's not one but next two records. One, a sequel to their breakthrough acoustic record Evocation I: The Arcane Dominion, and the other, another metal record. “It was quite a spontaneous thing really, some ideas came to me about the concept,” he says. “The next album we will do will be a metal album, but now I've got that concept Evocation Part II will come after the metal album. Basically our next two albums will kind of be linked together, conceptually.”
But before the band head back into the studio, there's still plenty of touring to take care of. Though the next stop on the band's current world tour will see their maiden Australian shows take place, Eluveitie's reputation as a live act precedes them. Known for playing with power while incorporating a bunch of weird and wonderful folk instruments, Glanzmann laughs and says that's pretty much Eluveitie live in a nutshell. “We're all pretty much, how do you say, music addicts y'know. As long as we can hold our instruments in our hands we are ecstatic. And I think this is what comes across when we're standing on stage, so the show is just a very natural expression of our passion for music.”
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As for the band's rep to be able to do everything from the albums onstage, Glanzmann is resolute. They couldn't have it any other way, basically. “What you hear on an Eluveitie record is what you get on at an Eluveitie show. What that means is there's eight of us onstage coming up with these interesting folk instruments, so there's something to look at.” But from a logistical standpoint, it must be pretty bloody hard for Eluveitie to actually put all those instruments together and recreate the dynamism of records like Helvetios and Slania, right? “It takes experience to know how to mix a mandola next to a fucking loud metal drum, but we've got it figured out by now. There's no problem with that.”