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ELUVEITIE: Share First New Song “King”

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Last Updated on 04:25 PM by Lilliana Tseka

Swiss folk metallers ELUVEITIE have released a first song of their upcoming album Origins, due on August 1st through Nuclear Blast Records. “King” has everything you can expect from the band: singer Chrigel’s raspy vocals, Celtic tunes from fiddles and hurdy gurdy, and of course a bottom layer of melodic death. Only near the end we hear a short appearance of Anna’s female vocals.

Remember that I said in on of my last posts that ELUVEITIE puts a lot of effort in the background of their music? Well, take a few minutes to learn what “King” is all about:

“The song „King“ deals – what a surprise – with a remarkable king who lived in the 5th century BC. His name was Ambicatus and he was the ruler of the gaulish tribe of the Bituriges, who lived in today‘s central France (their capital was Avaricum, today‘s Bourges, the city you might know from the song „The siege“ off our album „Helvetios“). Regarding the names, both – the tribe as well as it‘s ruler – seem to be exceptional. „Bituriges“ can be translated as „kings of the world“, while „Ambicatus“ can be interpreted as „fighing against all sides“. Lyrically „King“ is linked together with the track „Carry the torch“. Ambicatus is mentioned in the founding legend of Mediolanum (today‘s Milan in northern Italy) by Livy whose source was Timagenes. This legend could perhaps be fictional and is possibly linked to the etruscan legend of Arruns, yet it contains a lot of astonishing historical evidence. According to Livy Ambicatus was the mightiest of all gaulish kings, his reign was blessed and he was loved by his people. Gaul prospered under Ambicatus‘ rule and grew „so rich in fruits and people, that the vast amount could hardly be governed anymore“ (Livy 5;34). Ambicatus wished to relieve the kingdom of overpopulation. Yet since he was advanced in years himself, he sent out Bel- lovesus and Segovesus – the sons of his sister (which is interpreted as indication of celtic matrilineali- ty by some scientists) – to find new lands. The two young men were sent out to lead a large amount of Gauls (from more than six different tribes) and immense troops to „the lands the gods would show them through signs“. The two brothers indeed expanded Gaul and founded several important cities (among othes Mediolanum). While „Carry the torch“ deals with Bellovesus and Segovesus, „King“ focuses the beginning of it all: Ambicatus and his myth-enshrouded rule. According to current scientific knowledge Livy‘s portrayal of Ambicatus can‘t originate from the roman historians mind and his perception of Gaul, but is heavily shaped after typical celtic beliefs and the celtic conception of kingship. In the later insular celtic culture we know the concept of the „high king“ (also „sacral king“): One (druidical) ruler above regular kings. Such a „sacral kings- hip“ is not evidenced in Gaul by antique literary testimonies. But the figure of Ambicatus suggests that the „sacral kingship“ may have been a very old concept already known in the Gaul of the iron age (Hallstatt age). This would also explain the tribe-spanning rulership of Ambicatus, as mentioned by Livy (which is the only existing record of such in antique literature). In this context Ambicatus‘ tribes name (Bituriges) seems not to be a coincidence neither. Ambicatus role as „superior ruler“ as described by Livy also seems to be drawn from celtic beliefs about kingship, according to which the prosperity of a tribe and the fatness of the land are depen- ding on the rightfulness of a king, as well as on his health, his virtue, goodness and moral. Furthermore there‘s the theory (by Françoise Le Roux) that the „sacred center“ of Gaul („the omphalos“, the „axsin bitous“ – the world axis) originally was located in the Bituriges‘ territory. We‘re talking about the very place Gaius Iulius Caesar describes as „locus consecratus“ and pinpoints in a large forest on Carnutian territory (the Carnutes were direct neighbours and also partners of the Bituriges and also accompanied Bellovesus and Segovesus) centuries later. Even though many of these assumptions are hypothetical and yet to be proven, Livy‘s portrayal of Ambicatus and his story (including the founding legend of Mediolanum) remains something very interesting, as well as intriguing and astonishing: A roman literary testimony which is actually full celtic thoughts and characteristics, which suggests celtic historic realities behind it.”

So far for the history lesson, guys!

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