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Enslaved - Eld CD (album) cover



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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.

Report this review (#172777)
Posted Sunday, June 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
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.

Report this review (#259022)
Posted Sunday, January 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Eld' - Enslaved (79/100)

I count myself amazed that my opinions can change so wildly given enough years. I used to be a devoted Enslaved listener-- far more than I am now, admittedly. They did more than fuse black metal with progressive rock; they demonstrated how organically an artist's sound could change over time, and all of the steps were interesting in their own right. Above anything else however, I preferred the two polar ends of their career, that being the prog metal phase from 2008's Vertebrae onward, and the frigid black metal glory I considered to have ended in '97 with their third LP Eld. For whatever reason, I initially condemned Eld as the ushering in of an appropriately middling mid-period that did little to move me. I thought this was the point where Enslaved had supposedly lost their edge. Well, it doesn't happen often, but there are times where I consider myself fortune to be wrong. This is one of them.

Ironically, as my appreciation of Eld has grown upon revisiting the discography of these guys, my opinion towards the earlier work has waned. Why is it that I had thought Eld sounded thin compared to Frost years ago, and feel the total opposite these days? If there is anything from my initial impression that still rings true, it's that Eld strikes me as a polished combination of their first two albums. The Norse orchestrations and complexity of Vikingligr veldi met their match in the blackened grit of its successor. It was interesting to hear Enslaved playing two wildly different sounds within 6 months of each other-- and in that order, no less! Listening to Eld now however, I have no doubt that the two approaches complement each other. Not that Vikingligr veldi ever lacked for energy, but it's a greater joy to hear that album's guided approach fuel far better riffs than were heard on either of the first two albums.

There were three years between Eld and the first pair of albums. Despite spending the arse-end of the Second Wave in relative silence, it's clear that they didn't spend the time idly. It's often hard to believe that Enslaved were a trio at this point in their career. Although I'm sure concessions would be made for their live shows, the arrangements are remarkably well fleshed out. Although they arguably went overboard with the 1970s homage on latter albums, it's fascinating how Eld manages to imply prog-inspired ambitions without bending over for any of the genre's tropes. The only exception, possibly, is the 16 minute "793 (Slaget om Lindisfarne)", an epic devoted to the raid that arguably began what is known as the Viking age. It's fitting that Enslaved chose such a significant event to cast a shadow over Eld. Unlike a lot of other albums (including some in Enslaved's own catalogue), the Norse themes never serve to slow down the music's pace. Grutle's clean vocals are remarkably evocative here, far moreso than Herbrand Larsen's tepid cleans on recent albums. Harald Helgeson does a much better job fitting in the band behind the drumkit than the frantic Trym Torson (see: Emperor) did on the last album. More than anything, Ivar Bjørnson raised the bar with his riffs on Eld. He actually manages to make his riffs sound more biting by fleshing out the rawness on Frost with technique and melody.

Listening to it now, there's a part of me that now misses the golden ratio Enslaved struck on Eld. It's wild to think I once thought of this album as a low-point in their career. The overly clean direction post-Below the Lights almost belittles the intelligence they could demonstrate without it. While they hadn't yet reached their peak with this one, it should be enough to say that this is the first album where their reach finally caught up with their noble ambitions.

Report this review (#459182)
Posted Saturday, June 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
4 stars Starting out with a lengthy non-metal intro encapsulates the very essence of ENSLAVED's career on their third full length album ELD as does the entirety of the opening track "793 (Slaget Om Lindisfarne)" or in English "793 (The Battle Of Lindisfarne.)" The slightly over sixteen minute track displays another step in the continuing evolutionary step in this band's sound and a snapshot to a rung on their ladder up to the progressive heights they would reach with their 21st century releases. ELD may well be a subordinate release in the shadow of their more famous debut "Vikingligr Veldi" and their series of progressive behemoths beginning with "Monumension," but don't doubt for a minute that ENSLAVED weren't capable of extremely enthralling progressiveness in the form of Viking black metal on all their albums in between. This band just really knew how to blend a plethora of elements together in all the right ways to create captivating music. ELD is certainly no exception to this trend.

One of the first differences i notice on ELD in contrast to the previous album "Frost" is the drumming and as it turns out there has been a change of the guard in this department. On "Frost" we were graced with the talents of none other than black metal pioneer and band hopper Trym Torson (Emperor, Imperium, Zyklon etc) and on this release we hear Harald Helgeson taking up the duties. Although his drumming skills aren't as proficient and aggressive as Torson, he is definitely able to get the job done and in a way that really suits the music. His style is noticeably different though and drumming styles are key differentiators in the metal world. However, like any good band should, everyone adapts to all the musicians on board, hence the reason why there is really no less than really good ENSLAVED album.

This album is just chock full of satisfying musical ideas. While the main focus is on second wave black metal and all the fury, raspy vocals and blastbeats that ensue, there is so much more on board here. Right from the symphonic intro we encounter everything from thrashy riffing, traditional metal rhythms and progressive time sigs that while not a mainstay at this point introduce themselves periodically and in just the right places to make this album feel very balanced. And also while the vocals are mostly placed in the aggressive raspy second wave black metal style, there is more attention placed on the clean monastery monk chants that will find their way into more extensive use on future releases. These chants while not dominant are nonetheless quite satisfying in the contrast. Possibly an inspiration from early Ulver? I would bet so.

For me ELD is another winner of an album. Since it is firmly rooted in the most extreme of black metal of the 90s, this will mostly appeal to fans of that style but there is a clear continuation of the progressive tendencies offered on the debut album while retaining the black metal dominance of the second. ENSLAVED are masters of simply ratcheting up their style and evolution little by little on each album and not really deviating significantly from what came before. While some may find their black metal focused albums more satisfying and some may lean towards the progressive one, it must be understood that they simply use both of these styles as a duality and only change the formula of how much each dominates. For me i really love both styles. Each album has a different ratio of how much each element is present and personally i love each and every possible combination with ELD being no exception. Album number three and just as satisfying as the first two. Not a great band in the making, but a great band already made.

Report this review (#1464942)
Posted Friday, September 18, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars Kicking off with a 16 minute composition inspired by the Battle of Lindisfarne, Enslaved's Eld reveals that in the years since the 1994 release of their first two albums the band had not been standing still. Although they had yet to reach the progressive-black metal fusion they would perfect on later albums, prog-inspired song structures begin to play a more prominent role, and keyboards remain a significant part of their sound. Ivar Bj'rnson's stint on the first Borknagar album, which itself was in a similar viking metal vein, means that this release feels a bit like a companion piece to that one due to the aesthetic and thematic overlap.
Report this review (#1728586)
Posted Wednesday, May 31, 2017 | Review Permalink
3 stars "Eld" might be most interesting album for the progressive minds out of the first three albums mainly due to the non- typical epic first 16-minute long track that is far from typical black metal.

"793 (Slaget Om Lindisfarne) / 793 (The Battle Of Lindisfarne)" is an astonishing and ambitious epic track with tons of elaborate keyboards (for black metal), changes in the mood.

Having set the expectations and spirits high, the remainder of the album is more or less black-metal oriented and not as memorable as the previous 2 albums. There are less intense parts with keyboards, acoustic guitars but not standing out. A 4 star first song but 2-3 star next songs.

Report this review (#2438459)
Posted Monday, August 17, 2020 | Review Permalink

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