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Excellent and traditional - 84%

Noktorn, January 26th, 2009

This is another release that would be unremarkable were it not for its excellent songwriting and professionalism throughout. 'Primeval Vespers' is one of many excellent releases out there that suffers merely due to its lacking unnecessary 'unique' elements. Nothing featured on this release is in any way unusual for metal except in its consistently powerful quality. Though there is nothing particularly different about this release, it still stands out from the pack by its purity of musical vision and near flawless execution.

Eld plays a viking-brushed style of black metal fairly in line with the earlier works of Enslaved with some added Graveland and perhaps Immortal. Despite the inclusion of the latter artist, it's not extremely blast heavy, and often is content to move along at a rolling midpace. Riffing follows suit, with an aggressive and arrogant feel that comes through varied rhythms and melodic structure. The music is reasonably varied, with a good sense of balance to the songs' construction, not letting any one musical idea drag itself to the ground through endless repetition. Vocals are a fairly typical black metal shriek and the occasional declarative low voice; nothing fascinating, but it gets the job done.

The musicianship and production of this demo really would be more befitting a full-length; it's some of the most professional I've ever heard on demo-level material and easily sounds as though it would come out on something like Candlelight. The band never loses step once in any dimension; riffing and songwriting are always top notch in addition to production and musicianship. No track is weak or even uninteresting, and the band constantly sticks somewhere around good to great in quality. The feel of the music is perfectly natural and never mechanical, fitting the organic, densely forested music very well. It's the combination of viking and black metal as it should really be done; not through silly flute passages and dramatic synths, but through bringing to mind the images that one would expect from such a glacial style.

As you can see, Eld is a fairly simple band (though the music can be reasonably technical) with simple ambitions: to play quality music the way they want to. In this they succeed completely; this demo is better than full-lengths put out by bands many years their senior, and it deserves much more attention than it gets. Having been re-released by Antichristian Front a couple years back means that no one has any excuse for not giving this a try. It's worthwhile music for those tired of gimmick and novelty in their heavy metal.