Live at The Regent Theatre
Los Angeles, CA
September 27th, 2019
Review and photos by Travis Baumann
After a four year absence from touring North America, the mighty Swiss pagan folk metal heroes return to Los Angeles. In that span of years Eluveitie went through a rebirth, as they put it, with a large shake up of members, released an acoustic folk album, and earlier this year put out their amazing eighth studio album, "Ategnatos" (which currently is tied for best album of 2019 in my book).
This concert was one of my most anticipated shows of the year and Eluveitie did not disappoint. Headlining the "Wanderers Toward Rebirth" tour with Korplikaani, the Regent Theatre was absolutely full of metal fans anxious for Eluveitie's signature blend of traditional Celtic folk music infused with melodic death metal.
The unwavering core of the band is based around the ultra talented Chrigel Glanzmann. Since the inception of the band in 2002, Chrigel has been the driving force and primary creative mind behind the last eighteen years, blazing a path that has firmly placed Eluveitie on the top of the global folk metal scene.
Joining Chrigel in Eluveitie's current incarnation is a welcome newcomer who really blew me away with her vocal talent and on-stage charisma, Fabienne Erni. She was quite impressive whether taking lead or singing back up for Chrigel. In addition to her amazing voice she also played the Celtic harp, which was a new instrument for Eluveitie's live performances.
Eluveitie have a massive band including Rafael Salzmann on lead guitar, Jonas Wolf on rhythm guitar, Matteo Sisti on bag pipes, tin whistle, and other wind instruments, Michalina Malisz on hurdy gurdy, and Alain Ackermann on drums. Julie Bélanger Roy was filling in on violin for the beginning of this tour and also is the front woman for this tour's supporting act, Gone In April.
Chrigel himself would pick up pipes or a mandola (a traditional stringed instrument) on certain songs, as well as sing the extreme growled lead vocals. The combined sound of all of the traditional instruments with the heavy guitar and a mixture of harsh male and melodic female vocals is an exquisite blend that make up Eluveitie's signature sound and what pushes them to the very top of the envelope for music of any genre.
They opened the set with the title track from the new album, "Ategnatos" which is a perfect song to kick off both the album and tonight's set. The word means "reborn" in Gaulish, the semi-dead language that Eluveitie have revitalized through many of their songs. Switching between Gaulish, Swiss German, and English, the band utilize their multi-lingual skills to enhance the powerful impact of their traditional influences.
"King" comes from their 2014 release, "Origins" which was the last album they toured the US for. It is an amazing album, as every release by Eluveitie has been, and reminds us of how long its been since we got to see them live.
Chrigel took a moment between songs to say how good it was to be back here playing for all of us fans. He said we had a choice of what language we would like to hear the next song in by vote of applause, and the crowd resoundingly chose the Swiss-German version of "The Call of the Mountains" which in that tongue is "De Ruef vo de Bärge".
They followed up that fan-favorite with a personal favorite of mine from the new album with the ominous, "Deathwalker". Eluveitie have a deep spiritual side to many of their songs, being pagan evocations and rites as well as invoking myth and legend from the past.
"Quoth the Raven" from 2010's "Everything Remains (As It Never Was) " release was up next which again showed how amazing this current lineup is. The plethora of instruments and Fabienne's voice combined with Chrigel's growl just build such an epic sound, it really is unparalleled.
They did two from "Ategnatos" in a row with "The Slumber" and the sinister "Worship". Switching to their more traditional folk side, they did "Artio" and "Epona" from the "Evocation II - Pantheon" release from two years back.
In the course of their career, they have put out two of these "Evocation" releases which put aside the heavy metal trappings and work in a more acoustic folk environment but somehow, in the live setting, the energy never waivers and the mosh pit kept cycling even during these "lighter" moments.
Coming back to the metal side of things they followed "Epona" with "A Rose For Epona" which saw the crowd renew their efforts, crowd surfers cascading across their mates to the front of the venue.
Unrelenting, the band pushed on with another personal favorite, "Thousandfold" from "Everything Remains (As It Never Was)". I first discovered Eluveitie in 2008 with the release of the "Slania" album and was instantly a fan. It seems that each album has just expanded my love for their music and this particular track is one that has stuck with me as one I constantly go back and revisit.
"Ambiramus" brings us back to the new album with an instant classic. It means "my voyage will continue", falling in line with the overall album's message of rebirth. This song is really catchy and quite uplifting. This a great song to introduce people to the band who might be a bit wary of the heavier, growlier side of Eluveitie.
They stretched back to 2012's "Helvetios" release for the song "Havoc" which tells of the historical Gallic Wars from the view point of the Helvetians and the devastation that comes with conflict.
Circling back to the new album once more, they played a song I was really hoping to hear live, the beautiful and uplifting "Breathe". This song really showcases the vocal talents of Fabienne and shows the more melodic side to the band. I love the super heavy, aggressive moments of Eluveitie but I also love these heartfelt serenades as well.
They concluded the main set with the song "Helvetios" which is the Etruscan Celtic form of the Swiss German word Eluveitie so when the chorus "We are, we are Helvetious!" is repeated, the audience singing along are basically resounding "We are Eluveitie!".
The band retreated from the stage and the chanting and stomping from the crowd began immediately. Without much ado, the band returned and gave us two more songs, the first being "Rebirth" from the new album and the second being one of the biggest fan favorites, "Inis Mona" from the "Slania" release which had everyone singing along one final time.
Chrigel thanked the crowd and the band all came to the front to take a group bow. They crouched down for a shot with all of us with our horns in the air behind them, and then left us to reflect on their amazing performance.
This is the seventh time I have seen Eluveitie and roughly my eleventh year of fandom. It was such an amazing show, it might have been the best one yet. I absolutely love Eluveitie and as I said earlier, their latest album is phenomenal and pretty much the best thing to come out this year. I highly recommend checking these guys out, especially live.
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