Sometimes music can have such a powerful connection to where it unlocks the door to the listener’s inner imagination. There are very few albums that I have felt deeply awaken by, however, Eldamar’s, “The Force of the Ancient Land,” is a true atmospheric and ambient black metal gem.
Released earlier this year, Eldamar’s first full-length release is filled with captivating musical landscapes that contain massive sounding atmospheres and mesmerizing moments of ambience. Each song is composed with great attention to detail and the tracks flow as if guided by some spiritual force. I was quite surprised to find out that only one person was behind the creation of this music. The music is so majestic that you would think that multiple people were involved.
Overall, Eldamar presents an almost cinematic sounding release that I personally felt gave me the opportunity to create my own mental pictures to fit the music’s emotional tone. Listeners will notice that the music goes through constant tempo changes and that there are climatic moments of atmospheric grandeur. The opening song, “Spirit of the North,” is a long dynamic piece full of endless sounding wonder. There is a soothing keyboard board intro that is met by a distorted guitar riff and haunting black metal growl. Eventually the music turns towards this triumph chorus like section that coexists with the harsh growls. The balance of melodic moments and grim ambience creates a striking contrast, which only propels the music into more epic and powerful sounding atmospheres. The following track, “Winter Night,” really utilizes the keyboard’s ability to establish a solid backbone for the song. From there the black metal vocals and guitar parts seep into the music like snow falling through the trees of a forest.
Track number three, “Travel in Woods,” is very pleasant sounding and a brief departure from the longer songs that contain those distorted guitar riffs and echoes of growling agony. “From Life to Spirit,” once again returns to the powerful contrast of what was heard on the first two songs. I do notice the band has some similarities to groups such as Summoning and Lustre, especially in the keyboard arrangements and composition approach. Unlike Summoning though Eldamar does not use lyrics to narrate the album's themes and compared to Lustre I found Eldamar’s use of the female vocal parts to inject more triumphant emotion into the music. Still, I do hear the similarities between Eldamar and other atmospheric/ambient black metal bands, but there are without question distinct areas where this band is going in a slightly different direction.
The second half of the album maintains much of what the first half had to offer, but there are moments of noticeable difference in certain parts. “Valkyrjur Ancient One,” contains the sounds of wind blowing with a solemn ambient synth tone in the background. Right after track number six, “The Border of Eldamar,” commences with some vibrant sounding chords to usher in one of the album’s most enjoyable tracks. I found the cinematic vibe to be most strong on this song and the xylophone like synth and keyboard riffs are a main driving force. As the wordless female vocals soar over the guitars and keyboards, the black metal growl cries out as if wishing to drown out the more melodic sounds. At the end of the song, there is an epic build up of the contrasting elements that heightens the song’s overall tone. Track seven, “Galaðwen The Eldar,” is a very relaxing piece while the final song on the album, “New Beginning,” is yet another return to the same musical structures that were used before. I personally felt like, “The Border of Eldamar,” could have been the final song on the album since that track was extremely impactful, but, “New Beginning,” was still a decent final song.
Some listeners might consider Eldamar’s, “The Force of the Ancient Land,” to be repetitious, but I felt that when listening to each song there was always something that kept me engaged. For example, the changing of tempos and emotional tones along with contrasting sounds made listening to the album exciting until the very end. I do believe those who appreciate atmospheric and ambient black metal will instantly be hooked by Eldamar’s music. This is already an album I believe could be my album of the year since the release has so much replay value. Seriously, check it out now!
Eldamar "Spirit of the North" :
Eldamar Facebook Page: