Swiss folk-metal band Eluveitie incorporate folk instrumentation such as hurdy-gurdy, flute, and pipes into an otherwise traditional death metal style, also adding a pagan element channeled through lyrics in the Gaulish language (a dead language in the Celtic family that predated Latin throughout Western Europe). The band is comprised of Chrigel Glanzmann (vocals), Ivo Henzi (guitar), Siméon Koch (guitar), Rafi Kirder (bass), Anna Murphy (hurdy-gurdy), Meri Tadic (violin), Sevan Kirder (whistles, flute, gaita), and Merlin Sutter (drums). Formed in 2002 by vocalist Chrigel Glanzmann (formerly of the bands Môr Cylch and Dornwald), the band began as a one-off studio project resulting in the self-financed EP Vên in 2003. The EP was well received in the underground metal community, and so Glanzmann and company decided to carry the Eluveitie project forward, becoming a genuine band.
In 2004 Eluveitie made their live performance debut and signed a recording contract with the Dutch label Fear Dark Records, which released an updated version of the Vên EP. In 2005 the band toured with fellow Fear Dark bands Slechtvalk, Random Eyes, and Pantokrator and made plans to release their debut album, recording it at the end of the year. Released in 2006 on Fear Dark, Spirit marks the band's full-length debut. In support of the album, Eluveitie toured Europe with the German band Odroerir, including a co-headlining performance at the 2006 Fear Dark festivals and also a performance at the 2007 Ragnarök Festival in Germany. In late 2007 Eluveitie signed a recording contract with the German label Nuclear Blast, one of the genre's premier musical outlets, and released their second full-length album, Slania, in 2008. The album became a Top 40 hit on the Swiss albums chart. ~ Jason Birchmeier