Pardon the lateness. I've been busy. It's been a while since I was a regular reviewer, but I am aiming to change that starting now with the sixth full length album from Switzerland's Eluveitie, titled Origins.

I've always described Eluveitie as Riverdance metal. They mix traditional Celtic folk elements with Swedish death metal and the combination works very well. It gives them a very distinct sound. As "big" as folk metal has become over the last decade, Eluveitie has remained relatively un-copied and unique. By choosing the heavier path, and with nine members offering many diverse possibilities, the band has remained relevant and well-loved by many, including some who don't even care for folk metal.

On Origins, the band goes conceptual, spinning lyrical tales about Celtic and Gaulish myth. It's also the heaviest-sounding album of theirs, in both the structure of the riffs and the overarching gravity of the orchestration. It has darker overtones, though it still carries forth with epic-sounding chord progressions and choruses. The riffing is percussive and low-endy. Lots of slab-like open chords laced with delicate harmonies, and even a few parts reminiscent of Jeff Loomis' busy single-note patterns which at times are complimented by violin. It makes for a rich and layered aural experience. With so many instruments, vocals, and orchestration going on, it can be hard for each part to find its own sonic space, but Origins manages to pull this all off and still be balls-fucking-heavy and full of groove.

My only issue is that it's a long album. Clocking in at almost 58 minutes, it seems longer. 16 tracks, some of them transitional interludes, but after about ten I am getting an itchy fast-forward finger. Eluveitie does what they do better than no other band, yet at times it seems like they've painted themselves into a corner that can be hard to escape from. That doesn't mean that Origins isn't great, but it is perhaps not as much of a departure or progression from their previous work, and by the time it's close to being over, I've gotten my fill and I'm not in a rush to hit 'play' again. Still, when I am in my mood to do my Michael Flatley impression, nothing else comes close to this.