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Enslaved - Eld CD (album) cover

ELD

Enslaved

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal


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UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Eld is the third album from norwegian black/ viking metal legends Enslaved. There were already progressive hints on Enlavedīs previous album Frost but Eld is even more interesting seen from a progressive view point. The music is still not progressive in a conventional sense though so donīt expect Eld to be much more than an interesting black metal album.

793 ( Slaget om Lindisfarne) is a 16+ minutes epic track. It starts with dark symphonic keyboards and builds to anthemic metal. There are some really heavy riffing in this song. The pace changes from mid to slow to blast beating, so this is certainly not a boring song when it comes to tempo. The singing is clean and epic in nature. Despite the long playing time this is a great song that never gets boring even though the riffs do become a bit repetitive at times.

Hordalendingen is a pretty fast song and itīs very brutal too. There are some very good eighties thrashy riffing in this song. I really like this song. Great metal. It almost reminds me of Kreator, Sodom, Destruction or any other of those eighties european thrash metal bands, just played a bit faster. The chorus section is very nordic and beautiful though.

Alfablot is another fast paced song with beautiful melodic sections with sporadic keyboards. Itīs pretty syphonic when Enslaved play these parts.

Kvasirs Blod has a fast main riff and an almost gothic sounding chorus which is equally as fast. The middle section of the song again sounds like eighties euro thrash to me. The song ends with a high pitched scream which I think must be an ode to either King Diamond or Rob Halford. Itīs just a guess though.

For Lenge Siden ( A Long Time Ago) starts with a sample with some nordic speaking ( Iīm a Dane and Iīm not sure which language this is which is pretty embarrassing really, but my guess would be Norwegian as Enslaved are from Norway but it might my Islandic because of the viking lyrics). The intro riff which lasts for almost 3 minutes is pretty melodic. The next riff is mid paced with raspy vocals and again some speaking. Then into some blast beating and then back to the midpaced riff again. The song continues to shift between midpaced riffing and blast beats. For Lenge Siden is not my favorite song on Eld.

Glemt ( FOrgotten) is a fast paced song but around the 4:30 minute mark we have some slow atmospheric riffing sections. There is even some spacy keyboard sounds. In this section there is also some clean singing. The song ends with blast beating.

The title track is the last song on the album. It alternates between intense blast beating and beautiful atmospheric parts with clean singing which reminds me of their two masterpiece albums Isa and RUUN. For prog heads this songs might be one of the more easily accessible even though nothing on Eld is probably easy to access for a prog head.

The musicianship has become very good. What you heard on Frost is even better here on Eld.

The music is pretty basic heavy metal but if you ever tried to play this style youīll know that even though the harmonics are not very complex itīs takes a real man to endure the fast paced riffing and drumming. Now it might not be considered art on a prog rock site, but to a metal head like myself itīs definitely art. I guess itīs one of those things where it depends on the ears that hear.

The production is pretty good for the genre. Itīs very raw but you can still hear whatīs going on. Iīm not a black metal fanatic myself and I donīt like the real lo-fi productions that many so called TRUE black metal bands use. This is a different story though as the raw sound suits the brutal music.

Donīt be fooled. This is essentially a black metal album and itīs a very extreme one too. If you generally donīt like metal youīll definitely not want to use time listening to Eld, but if youīre curious about early Enslaved or black metal for that matter Eld is a great place to start. For prog heads only I would recommend Isa or RUUN though. Eld is worth 3 stars in my book, but mind you that this is a black metal classic and black metal fans would probably rate this much higher than me.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#172777)
Posted Sunday, June 01, 2008 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
4 stars Eld combines the technicality and fury of Frost with the epic glory of Vikingligr Veldi. The frequent clean chants and variations in tempo and instrumentation turn this harsh and extreme metal into an enjoyable and mature black metal classic.

793 commemorates a Viking victory over the Lindisfarne monastery in England, one of the first big Viking raids. It clearly inspired the guys for a surging 16 minutes attack of epic and anthemic metal glory, the songs has plenty of variation in tempo and melody, clean chants and harsh singing. Hordalendingen is entirely different, fast, technical, thrashy and furious. Harsh technical black metal. The pagan chant that serves as chorus lightens up the proceedings. Together with the opener it offers the best 21 minutes of early Enslaved music.

The remainder of the album rarely goes beneath the standard set by the first two tracks. Alfablot is another 6 minutes of black metal rage with a number of symphonic accents and sparse clean vocals to balance the turmoil. Kvasirs Blod alternates between black metal blast beats, thrash metal and slower paced funeral doom sections. But by the time For Lenge Siden comes along, we're a good 35 minutes into the album and as usual with this kind of music, the experience gets rather exhausting. The 8 uncompromisingly harsh minutes of this track offer no relief. Also Glemt is hard to sit through but the it slows down a bit over halfway and a section with spacey keyboards and clean singing predicts the more traditional prog leanings of later Enslaved. The album closer Eld dwells in similar territory

The production is harsh and dirty and spoils some of the listening experience, but if you manage to ignore the tin can drums and the overstressed high end frequencies, the album is a real treat and one of the greatest albums in the black metal genre. It's rather long for music of this intensity but if you ignore the lesser moments, there's still a good 45 minutes of excellence.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#259022)
Posted Sunday, January 03, 2010 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 'Eld' - Enslaved (5/10)

After two albums that varied quite a bit in their respective approaches, Enslaved took a break from album making for a few years before coming out with their third album, 'Eld'. As with virtually every chapter in this Norwegian black metal band's history, there are a variety of sounds and developments in the band's formula. Wandering boldly out of the black metal territory into a more progressive region of music, 'Eld' hints at the sound that Enslaved would later more wholesomely adopt with albums like 'Mardraum' and 'Below The Lights'. without completely jumping into it. While some see this album as being a great mix of the older black metal, or later progressive sounds, 'Eld' personally strikes me as an album that comes up short in both worlds, lacking the dynamic or complexity of the later, while being light on ferocity and the atmosphere of the first two albums. Although 'Eld' is still a correct step forward for Enslaved, it is a fairly rough transition, and as a result has been one of the least memorable Enslaved albums.

Of greatest note and recognition here is the opening track '793 Slaget Om Lindisfarne', an epic dedicated to an old Viking conquest. Dwarfing all other tracks here at sixteen minutes in length, 'Eld' is opened up on a relatively strong note with this track, breathing some life into the music with a lush symphonic introduction, before going into the more definitive blastbeats and tremolo guitar picking of black metal. The music here also shows a very deep rooting now in the sounds of the style called Viking metal, featuring droning clean vocals and some faint acoustic sounds. Where 'Eld' begins to go wrong is its failed attempt at achieving the sense of epic ambition it sets itself out for. Although '793' does feel like a single composition that has been fairly thoughtfully put together, it generally lacks a feeling of climax, or epic proportion. Instead, the music feels like it cycles between ideas that are fairly good, to excellence, to bland mediocrity, and uses them each numerous times throughout the sixteen minute track. The ideas are rarely ever developed upon, which makes it difficult to get a truly excellent experience from this track. However, the ambition of '793' makes it worth the journey alone, and the moments of excellence are used very well.

The rest of the songs here are fairly decent, yet somewhat bland when compared to the material that came before. With 'Vikingligr Veldi', the music emphasized epic metal and complex orchestrations. 'Frost' then focused on a more orthodox approach to raw black metal. 'Eld' tries to merge the two, but does neither style particularly well, only decently. The heavy black metal moments feel very similar to the same writing on earlier stuff, but with less bite to it. In terms of the more progressive orchestrations here, Grutle Kjellson tries his hand at clean singing quite a bit here, but it's clear that he would still have some way to go before getting the vocals nailed. Although comparatively weaker to the previous two albums, 'Eld' does sport some cleaner production to it, which will certainly attract those who found the less polished studio work of black metal-era Enslaved off-putting.

Although this is certainly my least favourite Enslaved album at the time of writing, 'Eld' is a decent album, if even only for its sense of ambition and progression. There are been a very clear step forward in development here, and while Enslaved does not do such a great job at consolidating their sound here, 'Eld' will endear many of those who favour Enslaved's Viking metal era most.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#459182)
Posted Saturday, June 11, 2011 | Review Permalink

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