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Eluveitie (/ɛlˈveɪti/ el-VAY-ti) is a Swiss folk metal band from Winterthur, Zurich, founded in 2002 by Chrigel Glanzmann. The project's first EP, Vên, was released in 2003. Vên was a studio project of Glanzmann's, but its success led to the recruitment of a full band. The band then released a full-length album, Spirit, in June 2006. In November 2007, Eluveitie was signed by Nuclear Blast. The group rose to fame following the release of their first major-label album, Slania, in February 2008. The album peaked at number 35 in the Swiss charts and number 72 in the German charts.
Eluveitie describe themselves as "The new wave of folk metal". The band's style incorporates characteristics of melodic death metal combined with the melodies of traditional Celtic music. They use traditional European instruments, including the hurdy-gurdy and bagpipes, amidst guitars and both clean and harsh vocals. Their lyrics include references to Celtic mythology, particularly the Celtic Gaul village. The lyrics are often in the extinct ancient language Gaulish. The name of the band comes from graffiti on a vessel from Mantua (ca. 300 BC). The inscription in Etruscan letters reads eluveitie, which has been interpreted as the Etruscan form of the Celtic (h)elvetios ("the Helvetian"), presumably referring to a man of Helvetian descent living in Mantua.
Formation and Twilight Records contract (2002 - 2007):
The band was founded in the winter of 2002 by Christian "Chrigel" Glanzmann as a studio project featuring different people on different tracks. October the following year saw the publication of the MCD Vên (Helvetian Gaulish for "wild joy"). After Chrigel decided to make Eluveitie a real band instead of a studio project, he assembled nine other musicians, making it a full ten-piece band.
Shortly afterwards, the group performed its first shows, one including the Swiss metal festival Elements of Rock, and Eluveitie signed a contract with the Dutch record label Fear Dark, which released a re-recorded Vên in 2004. Other live performances were played, such as on some events of "Fear Dark Festivals", and even as support for the established international pagan-folk metal acts such as Korpiklaani and Cruachan. (Chrigel sent the first MCD to Keith from Cruachan at this time for his opinion). At this point, the band became full-time, and 7 of the 10 members left for various reasons, leaving Chrigel Glanzmann, Sevan Kirder and Meri Tadić to carry on with new members. They recruited six others, including Sevan Kirder's brother Rafi to play bass, making Eluveitie a nine-piece band.
A limited edition tribute album to the German-Icelandic band Falkenbach was published in 2006 to celebrate their 15th anniversary. The album included Eluveitie's cover song "Vanadis".
At the beginning of 2006, there was another change in the band's line-up. Sarah Kiener was replaced by Anna Murphy to play hurdy-gurdy and Linda Suter was removed, trimming the band down to eight members.
In the second quarter of 2006, the album entitled Spirit was published on Fear Dark. Although the official release date was June 1, 2006, it was made available on their first official 'tour' (a series of 'Fear Dark Festivals' in May 2006, playing alongside label mates Morphia (HOL)& Royal Anguish (USA), as well as Taketh (SWE)). In September that same year Eluveitie toured Europe with the German band Odroerir. At the end of 2006, Eluveitie signed a new recording contract with the German label Twilight Records. In early 2007, they played at Ragnarök Festival.
Nuclear Blast contract and Slania (2006 - 2012):
In November 2007, Eluveitie signed a contract with label Nuclear Blast. The new studio album Slania (a girl's name that Chrigel saw on a 2500-year-old tombstone) was released on February 15, 2008.
On June 4, 2008, brothers Rafi and Sevan Kirder (bassist and bagpipe player, respectively) announced on their MySpace pages that they would leave Eluveitie following their concert at the Metal Camp Open Air in Slovenia on July 8, 2008.
Eluveitie's next project, Evocation, was announced in 2008. The first part of the album, Evocation I: The Arcane Dominion, was released in April 2009. The band released an official special edition of this new album as Slania/Evocation I - The Arcane Metal Hammer Edition on the May Edition from the Metal Hammer, the magazine was released on 15 April 2009 with eight songs from Evocation I: The Arcane Dominion and five from Slania.
Eluveitie announced via their website on 17 September 2009 that they were working on a new album titled Everything Remains (As It Never Was). The entire album was made available for "full prelistening" through the band's MySpace page on 12 February, to remain available until the album's European release. The album was released on 19 February 2010.
Eluveitie toured Europe and North America extensively in 2010 and also visited India in February 2010 when they played for Alcheringa (festival), the annual college festival of the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, Assam, India.
In August 2010 they were awarded the Metal Hammer "Up and Coming 2010" title at the Wacken Open Air.
Helvetios and Origins (2012 - present):
Eluveitie released Helvetios, another metal album, in 2012, which received very favorable reviews. In an interview with Metal Blast magazine, Chrigel Glanzmann revealed that he has already started writing new material for Evocation II, the follow up to their 2009 acoustic album, as well as some new metal songs; as of June 2013, however, there is no clarity as to the release date of either.
During their tour in South America, Anna, the hurdy-gurdy player, was reported sick on 26 January 2013, and had to take a flight to Switzerland on short notice. Despite this, however, the band continued their tour without her.
On August 29, 2013, it was revealed that Eluveitie had been working on a new album, and that their Helvetios World Tour will be the last of their time playing live (apart from their Eluveitie & Friends Festival) before fully working on the new album. On the 11th of December, it was revealed that Nicole Ansperger will be the successor of Meri Tadić on the violin.
In March 2014, Eluveitie won the Swiss Music Awards' Best Live Act National award. In April the same year, the band announced a headlining European tour, with support acts Arkona and Skálmöld. On May 14, the band announced a new album scheduled for release on August 1, 2014, titled Origins. Original artwork created by Chrigel Glanzmann was released as well, along with the theme of the album, which revolves mainly around Gaulish mythology.
In early June, the band announced on their Facebook that they will be releasing their lead single for Origins, titled "King", on 13, the same month. Eluveitie released the official music video for the song on July 3.
November 2014, in the middle of a european headliner tour Patrick "Päde" Kistler leaves Eluveitie. After a week of silence he releases a statement on his official facebook profile and explains his point of view about the leave.
In March 2015, the band announced its return to India after almost five years since they first performed at Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati. They have performed at "Ragam", the annual cultural fest of National Institute of Technology Calicut on 27 March, marking the band's first performance in South India and their first performance at any NIT. They are going to perform at IIT Roorkee also, as a part of their India tour.
On August 3, 2015, the band announced the departure of violinist Nicole Ansperger because of her family situation, as she described, "...makes it impossible for me to be on the road with my band constantly."
Eluveitie infuses traditional Celtic folk melodies with Gothenburg-styled melodic death metal. Eluveitie uses traditional folk instruments in their music, such as fiddles, tin whistles and flutes, bagpipes and hurdy-gurdies. The traditional folk tunes in their songs have been drawn from various sources, including traditional Irish reels. While many of their lyrics are in English, some are in the ancient extinct Gaulish language. In some instances, the two languages are intertwined throughout a song. All of the lyrics on their 2009 release Evocation I: The Arcane Dominion are in Gaulish (except the first song "Sacrapos - At First Glance"). Their lyrics are based on texts written in Gaulish such as prayers, invocations of the gods and other spirits.