Swiss folk-metal act Eluveitie return to Adelaide on May 22 at The Gov, bringing  with them their unique mix of melodic death metal and Celtic folk music.

Utilising folk instruments including fiddles, tin whistles, flutes, bagpipes, and the magnificent hurdy-gurdy, they’ve created hits including ‘Thousandfold’, ‘Inis Mona’, and ‘The Call of the Mountains’.

Eluveitie2014jChrigel Glanzmann is the primary creative force behind Eluveitie’s sound, starting the band himself as a studio project in 2002.

He wrote the core of the songs and invited studio musicians to perform on the tracks, before later assembling nine other musicians to join him to make a full 10-piece act.

Fans were shocked with big news only a couple of weeks ago on May 5th that three long-time members would be departing.

Merlin Sutter (drums), Ivo Henzi (guitar), and fan favourite Anna Murphy (hurdy-gurdy and vocals) will all be leaving to pursue other creative interests.

All three are committed to seeing through the band’s current commitments and this will be the only chance for Australian fans to see the current line-up.

We spoke with Eluveitie front man Chrigel Glanzmann ahead of their Adelaide show this weekend and he told us the band will be together until festival season.

“They will join us in Australia,” Chrigel says of the departing three members. “They will still play until the beginning of the summer festivals. We will not cancel one single show due to that.

“In such a long time, you develop your ideas, your perception and everything. We just kind of developed away from each other, regarding certain aspects, and that brought us to this point. We’re not parting ways like there’s bad blood or anything like that. We’re just focused on new goals. The three of them will go on with their own new project, which personally I’m really looking forward to. I’m sure it will be fucking awesome.”

Anna Murphy joined the band as a hurdy-gurdy player in 2006 after playing the instrument for only a few months.

Her vocals were featured heavily on their third album Evocation I: The Arcane Dominion, and the combination of her vocal and hurdy-gurdy talents made her a fan favourite.

“We’re super thankful to our full fan base; their reactions have just been amazing. Of course, it’s a huge disappointment to everybody, but our fans acted amazingly for everybody.”

“They really give Anna their full support, but at the same time they give Eluveitie their full support. That’s something we’re super thankful for.”

Replacing three members, each with at least 10 years in the band, is never an easy transition, but the band is confident it won’t kill off any momentum they’ve built up in recent years.

Anyone with any experience playing in a band would know the difficulty of finding the right members to jam with, but this has never been a major issue for Eluveitie.

Despite the rarity of certain instruments used in their music (compared to other contemporary metal bands),Chrigel has always found other musicians to fit in, even within Switzerland.

“Musically, it’s hard. To be honest, I don’t like to say ‘replace them,’ because in my opinion, every one of the three members are irreplaceable. But we will have new members and a new line-up and it will be absolutely amazing.”

“There’s a huge folk scene in Switzerland and Europe in general. There’s loads of hurdy-gurdy players in Switzerland, or bagpipe players and everything.”

Despite the intricacy and layers in the group’s music – which currently requires eight members playing on stage –Chrigel has always found song writing a natural process.

“Usually it’s quite an organic process; a lot of intuition involved. The main thing that’s important to me is, before I start working on particular songs, I always work out a concept for a complete album. When I start working on songs, I already know what songs will be on the album, how many of them, what kind of songs, and what the overall atmosphere of the albums will be like.”

“Once I have this, I start working on songs, but that’s a really natural and organic process. I don’t have a driving licence; I travel by train usually. I love sitting in a train, looking out a window, watching the landscapes passing by and that’s actually quite often when songs start emerging in my head.”

And you can catch his inspired songs in action on stage at The Gov on Sunday, May 22 with tickets through Oztix.

Words by Nutman
Photo supplied