The Force of the Ancient Land


Having already stumbled across ELDAMAR in my recommendations in Youtube, I couldn't pass up the […]
By Erika Kuenstler
August 22, 2016
Eldamar - The Force of the Ancient Land album cover

Having already stumbled across ELDAMAR in my recommendations in Youtube, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to review the very first release. "The Force of the Ancient Land" is the debut release by ELDAMAR, a newly fledged Ambient Black Metal solo project hailing from Norway. As with many such bands, Tolkien's work plays an influential role, with this album paying tribute to the elven magic and the surrounding nature, lending it a lighter note than most of its contemporaries.

"The Force of the Ancient Land" takes the listener on an ethereal journey, lasting almost one and a quarter hours, and comprising 8 songs. Starting off with "Spirit of the North", a cavernous dreamscape comes dripping in, mesmerising us before the distorted guitars add their thrall. Gravely vocals reinforce the cave-like sound further, sounding like winds whistling through untold depths. This is countered by a lilting female vocal synth melody, which, thanks to it's prolonged use, can get a bit tedious sounding at times. "Winter Night" on the other hand is full of magical moments, perfectly capturing the dance of delicate snowflakes on the icy wind. The start of "Travel in Woods" reminds me a little of "Toymaker's Dream" by TAMERLAN, partly due to the carefully picked out dream-like melody. Here, female vocals lend the song a fragile air, spinning the melody like glittering strands of cobweb. In contrast to this, "From Life to Spirit" has a more esoteric feel, with slightly darker undertows than the songs before it. Clocking in at over 11 minutes, this song can get slightly repetitive,  even though repetition lies at the heart of such music. At the apex of the album we find  "Valkyrjur Ancient Ones", which provides us with a short instrumental interlude, lulling us before the magnitude of "The Border of Eldamar" hits us. Full of searing emotions, a bitter-sweet melancholia tugs at you, undeniably drawing you in until you're fully submerged in the song, making it one of the highlights of the album. Penultimately we have "Galaðwen the Eldar", which has more of a fleeting feeling to it, reminding us that the album is almost up. Ending off with "New Beginning", a slow-paced song that draws together all the elements of the previous songs, bringing the album back full circle.

The drums have that typical digital sound to them, which can be a bit distracting. This added to the slight overuse of the synth in certain sections can be slightly marring. Then again, such small issues are nigh unavoidable in a solo project in this genre. Some listeners will undoubtedly grouse that the songs may seem a bit too similar, however, if you see this album more as a journey, the familiarities in the melodies serve as bridges between the various soundscapes. Furthermore, whilst it's laudable to attempt such a long release, listening to the album in its entirety without it turning into background music can be a bit of a feat. But these small critiques aside, "The Force of the Ancient Land" is an excellent album, especially considering that it is the debut.

In a genre full of generic sounding bands, it's refreshing to come across something so fresh, and it seems only fitting that I end off this review with a quote from Tolkien: "It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to." I for one can't wait to see where ELDAMAR sweep us off to next.

8 / 10









"The Force of the Ancient Land" Track-listing:

1. Spirit of the North
2. Winter Night
3. Travel in Woods
4. From Life to Spirit
5. Valkyrjur Ancient Ones
6. The Border of Eldamar
7. Galaðwen the Eldar
8. New Beginning

Eldamar Lineup:

Mathias Hemmingby - Everything

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