Primordial
To the Nameless Dead


4.5
superb

Review

by Tyler Munro EMERITUS
November 24th, 2007 | 287 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Folk Metal: Now With 500% Less Flutes!

Primordial knows who they are. As "Empire Falls" says, they are their fathers' sons. Obvious, perhaps, but the sentiment is one that Primordial feels is going unappreciated. While The Gathering Wilderness was a powerful and highly regarded album just two years ago, To the Nameless Dead seems to carry itself to a different beat.

Primordial state that if The Gathering Wilderness seemed impenetrably dark and hopeless, To the Nameless Dead is like Cúchulainn, climbing to his feet and fighting to his inevitable demise, only in hopes that he will take his enemy down with him. Noting Cúchulainn is not important for its mythological significance, but rather for the sense of pride it emits. Pride, along with a sense of inevitable death are what make To the Nameless Dead a worthy successor to The Gathering Wilderness, and as such, a strong competitor for best of 2007. The fact that the band's musical output is as strong as ever doesn't hurt.

The sense of pride I mentioned is impossible to miss. Carried alongside the band's typical gallop, Empire Falls comes out running. Alan Averill's voice is powerful, gravelled and seemingly war torn and melancholic, occasionally spurting bits of pride and vanquish and into the band's mix of folk and metal. The folk is implicit, mind you, distinctly lacking typical wind noises of the genre, vying for a more organic take on the music of their country.

"Gallows Hymn" takes a subtler approach. Slowly building atop a melodic intro that carries a brooding sense of defeat as well as accomplishment, the track holds true to its title. Baring the first introduction to the band's views on faith, obviously an important idea to the Irish pagans forced to deal with both their own complex beliefs and the ripening insertion of Christian morality, "Gallows Hymn" serves as a plea to remember the fallen. Three minutes shorter than "Empire Falls", the track comes off twice as epic nonetheless. Not necessarily serving to incite neo-paganism but as an attempt at remembering what was, the track unearths an interesting journey of a Heathen searching for a soul.

The same ideas carry throughout, with "As Rome Burns" serving as both a musical and thematic extension of "Empire Falls". Segmented with aggression and restraint, the 9 minute epic begins with the band's typical tom-heavy drumming, subtly adding texture and depth. A quick chant regarding the slaves of a Rome set-ablaze passes through before the band build themselves towards a Cúchulainn like warp spasm, growing exceedingly more intense before fading out on extended feedback – falling, but taking the listening with them.

At this point you'll realize the band's true strength; they are intensely powerful. When needed, the guitars encapsulate the rest of the band, and when not, they still fall into a wall of sound. The vocals are delivered passionately and emphasised with both fury and melody. The drumming, as always, is highly rhythmic and perhaps the most distinguished characteristic of the band, serving as the true catalyst for their sound. The bass, sadly, is mostly inaudible.

Consistency continues with "Failures Burden", which slows things down for the first half, while hinting at a heightened pace that conveniently steps in at the midway point, speeding its way through the band's ideas on human failings and the changing of seasons.

Even "Heathen Tribes" manages to make up for its opening three minutes, when, after a brief acoustic interlude, a jig-like passage enters, redeeming the song's shaky loop-like introduction. The two then coincide, making up the most inherently Celtic sounding bits on the album.

After a brief interlude ("The Rising Tide"), "Traitors Gate" alternates between their compounded folk metal sound and the black metal touches found on their earlier releases, with quick blast beats and tremolo picking mixing fluidly with the more downtrodden folk splices. The track ends leading anyone without the luxury of a track-list to believe that it's the final cut on the disc. Logic would at least initially support that "Traitors Gate" is the perfect closure point. To both these, I'm glad to say it isn't.

"No Nation on this Earth" is the summation of all previous ideas. "No Nation on this Earth" is the perfect ending, an epic closure and an important reminder of all encompassing ideas. Ideas summed up by the band in lyrics, quotes and imagery.

As the booklet states, To the Nameless Dead starts with an idea, which is here, as explained by the band:

The resilience of the human spirit to face adversity and triumph in the face of overwhelming odds yet also our finite lust for bloodshed and the tragedies we are forced to embrace

I couldn't have said it any better.

Vae Victis.



Recent reviews by this author
Masked Intruder Masked IntruderAtheist Jupiter
Aeon Path of FireAdam Haworth Stephens We Live on Cliffs
Autopsy The Tomb WithinOrbs Asleep Next to Science
user ratings (327)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
Greg Majewski (4)
Irish metal masters release their strongest album to date and up the ante for all other supposedly "...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Tyler
Emeritus
November 24th 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Tried something different. Basically a track by track. Comes out in the US soon. If anyone can get the special edition, do it. I did (shipped early) and it comes with a 40 page booklet and live CD.

Epic. If there's any issues with the review, I'll fix them later.

BallsToTheWall
November 24th 2007


44624 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I haven't actually got to read alot of your reviews, but this is pretty good, different than the other tbt's i've seen so far. I almost forgot that you had this planned. Gathering Wilderness was pretty solid. After ordering Sham Mirrors and Two Hunters, i'll have to wait on ordering this but will get it soon enough with the 40 page booklet.This Message Edited On 11.24.07

Digging: Mare Cognitum - Phobos Monolith

NemesisDivina
November 24th 2007


141 Comments


Tyler, I'm gonna be honest. This review wasn't exactly your best... there was a lot of dancing around, not very straight to the point.

But whatever, this album sounds fantastic and as soon as I find some time to check it out, I will for sure.

jrowa001
November 24th 2007


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

im stuck b/w a 4.5 and 5. i couldnt stop listening to this when i got it in the mail

diefamous
November 24th 2007


281 Comments


just a heads up. 5th paragraph you have it "As Rome Falls".. it's Burns right?

Tyler
Emeritus
November 24th 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah it's burns. My bad.

Nemesis, dancing around what? I described every track, I explained the positives. What's missing?

DWittisarockstar
November 24th 2007


1501 Comments


If you changed this around a little bit, it could be the lyrics to a power metal song.

Especially the first 3 paragraphs.

Tyler
Emeritus
November 24th 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

What the fuck are you talking about? Power metal?

And the first three paragraphs are necessary. It's those ideas that push the album above and beyond.

ZapatoDiablo
November 24th 2007


167 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I sometimes feel that when Primordial finds a good chord progression/groove, they sort of take it too far. Gallows Hymn is pretty much the same progression and Heathen Tribes is the same thing for the second part of the song. They are good bits though, so I can't completely fault them.

Tyler
Emeritus
November 24th 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

They exploit the gallop a lot but it's a trademark. Gallows Hymn may start off to test your patience but they always do it with poise. The implied repetition and monotony just hook you in, if anything.
Like I tried to imply in writing the review, just as much of their success is based on ideas and execution as it is the music propelling them.

plane
Staff Reviewer
November 24th 2007


6094 Comments


I like your review, but though the content is strong, the way the paragraphs break off towards the end doesn't make it as strong a set up. If you pushed the paragraphs (starting at "At this point..") together, you could get a more solid conclusion.

That being said, this album really surprised me, seeing as I wasn't a big fan of The Gathering Wilderness.

Nostalgia
November 24th 2007


64 Comments


Great review. If you actually listen to the album and grasp some portion of its meaning, you'll know this isn't a bloated review and each point he has made is completely necessary.

Great review as I said, dude. I haven't read a lot of your reviews that aren't related to metal (lol), but this one definitely speaks for itself.

Are you still planning to interview them?This Message Edited On 11.24.07

Tyler
Emeritus
November 24th 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nothing happened with the interview, so I dont know. We'll see what develops.
Lewis, I totally agree. I Just wanted to get it up here, then I'd patch it up after.

NemesisDivina
November 25th 2007


141 Comments


Tyler, it's not what's missing, it just seems like this could be trimmed down a lot to make it more straightforward. There are a lot of loaded sentences in here.

But, as per Austin's advice, I'll listen to this album, then read this review again and see what I think.

Tyler
Emeritus
November 25th 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I dont know how it's loaded, honestly. Can you give me some examples?

NemesisDivina
November 25th 2007


141 Comments


Meh, loaded wasn't really the word I was looking for. It just seems dry is all... it's a good review in the way that it describes everything very well, it just doesn't seem to really capture any of that emotion/intensitiy/pride that you were saying this album had so much of.

whatever, don't change it. it's perfectly fineThis Message Edited On 11.25.07

Tyler
Emeritus
November 25th 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Also Cúchulainn was a badass.

Yea, there's nothing like going into a giant rampage and killing everyone. Then tying himself to a rock, and having his sword falling to cut off his enemies hand. Pretty epic.
Not worried about the interview, it'll happen or it wont. I'm ready if it does and whateva if it don't.
(Rapping unintentional).

Silenius
November 25th 2007


305 Comments


Good review. I liked this better than before when I listened to it again today.

steveosk8s
November 25th 2007


135 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i first listened to this when it leaked and fell in love. excellent album. i love the vocals especially. This Message Edited On 11.25.07

Shattered_Future
November 25th 2007


1541 Comments


I'm interested...what kind of music is this? Folk metal?



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy