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Eldingar – Maenads Award winner

by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 27 September 2021, 3:41 PM

ELDINGAR is a black metal band from Greece who have released their full length debut “Maenads.” The band themselves refer to their music as “traditional hellenic black metal.”  Even if that didn’t make me excited, then the music on “Maenads” definitely would change my mind. With ten tracks at nearly an hour of run time, this is a sprawling and muscular release but well worth the time it takes to listen to it.  The production is what stood out to me the most: it is beefy and prominent with just the right amount of grit and clear, understandable soundscapes.  It definitely doesn’t have a shiny, glossy clean to it but it still sounds great especially for the style.

Of course, this type of black metal is rich in not only musicianship but also being unafraid in bringing in different elements along for this chaotic blackened ride.  As such, the instruments all get their time to shine but the bass especially stands out.  Deep, rumbling tones open up the first track, “Maenads Crave.” The blackened vocals quickly vomit forth their power; I really like Andreas’ style which is raw and heavy but still somewhat understandable.  The vocals and guitars compliment each other well, each of them riding atop the foundation made with the bass and drums.

Melody is a tool that is used expertly as well, blended into the very fabric of the songs themselves so the band never loses their edge even when the guitars are on a melodic streak. The change up of riffs throughout the song is appreciated as well, as so many bands on the traditional side of the fence just play the same notes for eight minutes. Acoustic and folk genres also make their presence very well known.  Tracks like “Height,” and “Serenity’s” are instrumental interludes that showcase the band’s willingness to not only step outside the box but to turn off the black distortion for the sake of variety.

Height Of The Moon,” begins with the guitars twisting around the bass and drums as the song builds up into frenzied energy after spending a couple minutes on a slower, more dirge like path.  Around the 5:30 mark, the song turns to a mid paced romp with several badass riffs.  The song finishes is strong with a burst of speed and venomous vocals. It leads right into “Serenity’s Anger,” a blistering song that is peppered with melodic moments and wonderful drumming that dances around them with expert precision.  The song’s tempo switches from slow to fast on a dime but always includes killer riffs at each transition and even some groove.  The mid section of the song is dizzying leads and harmonies as the guitars duel it out.  The bass keeps the song on a melodic line and gives it the flows needed.  It’s bouncy tempo in the later half is the perfect spring board for the vocals and the melodic finish.

Inside Trauma,” is another pretty acoustic folk piece that is on the more somber side but it is elegant in its execution.  The companion track is simply “Trauma,” and it is another banger, especially the later half.  At the 4:57 mark, a searing melodic groove rips through and sweeping up everything as it builds in speed and fury.  The drums heighten the sense of urgency and help wind the song down as the bass comes out for more delicate textures.

The last track, “Eyelids Heavy In The Storm,” is a strong finisher.  Long, moody, and consistenting of different musical dimensions, it is a fine way to end such a great album.  The first half of the song is clean instrumentation, heavy on the bass, with spoken word vocals.  Around the 5:08 mark, the bass goes heavy and the feedback creeps in for an explosion at the 5:24 mark.  The rest of the song is frantic vocals, heavy guitars, and the band’s enduring inclusion of melodic lead guitar.

ELDINGAR have released an impressive and diversified black metal debut album with “Maenads.”  It balances the darker aspects of the genre while not being afraid to include other elements that enhance the overall experience.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Maenads Crave
2. Height
3. Height of the Moon
4. Serenity's Anger
5. Serenity's
6. Inside Trauma
7. Trauma
8. Hjarta
9. Alpha Beta
10. Eyelids Heavy in the Storm
Stavros Londos – Guitars
Andreas Simitzis - Vocals
Record Label: Pest Records


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