Fans of Summoning will want to pick up this debut from Norway's Eldamar almost immediately. Not only is it Tolkien inspired, but it is also atmospheric/ambient black metal by which a female vocalist (uncredited but used quite a bit, is it even a real woman?) performs a heavy degree of chanting/vocalizing amidst the hefty scowls of project mastermind Matthias Hemmingby. The production is especially misty, but feels quite cool due to the use of crystalline keyboard sections. It feels like there might be a real drum kit here, but I'm not real sure and technology is pretty awesome these days, so it's tough to tell. As you might expect, this is a very tough record to sort of walk you through as it doesn't really seem like it's about separate experiences at all. Rather I feel like this album is one large piece, in which several sections seem to comprise the whole.
There are however, a few lighter and atmospheric moments like “Travel In Woods” which reminds me a little of the fairy music from Link To The Past, as well as “Valkyrjur Ancient One” which reminds me of a climb up a frosty mountain. I can literally feel the chill of the wind on my back from listening to this (seriously, did it just get colder in here?) and feel that it captures the atmosphere perfectly. We also have “Galadwen The Eldar” which feels almost romantic in it's ethereal and majestic nature. That's just plain beautiful. Removing those though, we're left with a rather solid mix of raw black metal, female vocalizing (is she an effect?) and the same chilly keyboard pieces – which definitely work in the mix. It does really sound like Summoning if they came from Norway and I think they'd be flattered to see their style passed onto the next generation of musical performers. Once again, if you like Summoning and similar acts, you will definitely want to have a copy of The Force Of The Ancient Land in your collection.
(8 Tracks, 73:00)