Review Summary: Primordials second release, back to their harder days.
Primordial is a band that has seemed to go unnoticed by the public eye for as long as I can remember. However, as of recent times, Primordial have been picking up a lot of steam with much praise and success coming from a slew of Metal magazines and other means of promotion such as the computer. Whether or not the success is stemming from "The Gathering Wilderness" or the recent release "To The Nameless Dead" Primordial are becoming powerhouses in the overcrowded metal genre despite having a birth date in the early 90's, possibly late eighties. Signing onto a major label could also give a good word too. Now, Primordial receive a lot of hype as an un definable band that makes it's own niche in the world wide metal scene. Are they worth of all they hype? Yes. Since forming, Primordial have had a unique take on the music they play. Earlier, Black Metal, and Irish folk had dominated their sound but as the years have gone by, their sound has slowly evolved sonically and grew much more accessible than past releases. This isn't a bad thing though, at least in Primordial's case because they haven't left their integrity out to dry.
'A Journey's End" is Primordial’s' second release following their debut "Imrama". The base sound carries many of the traits and overall feel of the newer stuff which in turn, is the traditional Primordial sound, yet it sounds different at the same time. This album is rough around the edges and raw, typical to the Black Metal genre. Although less accessible the instrumentation and the song writing abilities of Primordial are strong, resulting in a well crafted metal album. Primordial still possesses the black metal edge that they started with since formation, but slightly trimmed the sound to a scale with some experimentation, vocally and musically. They began to incorporate Irish folk melodies with the Black Metal structure without one over powering the other, kick starting the growth that Primordial is about to take in trimming the fat without losing the meat. Nematheanga uses his black metal styled growls for a good portion of the album but starts the transition of incorporating his powerful clean singing voice into a majority of the songs. The dynamics between the harsh to clean vocals fit perfectly in place with rhythms and tempos shifting with delicate balance. Also, the musical experimentation was great on this album, something that has been stripped down in recent years. Adding to the typical bass, guitar, drum set up, Primordial had incorporated the Mandolin, the Whistle, and the Bodhran- an Irish drum that was used in battle, fitting the opener quite well. The opener "Graven Idol" starts with a marching drum roll, presumably the Bodhran before a droning riff enters. This is one of the heaviest songs on the album with Nemetheanga's harsh growls providing the majority of the vocals on this song, finishing with an awesome bass line. Right away you can tell this album is much less accessible than newer releases as the catchy nature of "Empire Falls' is lacking. This is not a con. Less accessible does not make a song bad. The more you let a song grow on you, the more you begin to appreciate it for what it is. After one of the harder tracks of the album, "A Journey's End" switches gears to an all acoustic driven number with Nemtheanga singing his tale with a variety of instrumentation giving off quite an atmospheric mood.
This album is much more epic and atmospheric than “Imrama due to the inclusion of other instruments. The song writing skills of the band show exceedingly well, being able to blend a lot of different aspects into a well structured song. Personally, I think this is where Nemeathanga found himself as a vocalist. His singing voice has greatly improved in a short span. Displaying the power and emotion a great vocalist should carry, Alan succeeds in these goals, displaying the strength and rawness to front such a band. His clean voice is rough and filled with the same epic tone shown in “To The Nameless Dead”. Although his growls have decreased with age, they are used greatly when present. Similar to much of the Black Metal scene, they are high and raspy at times, and filled with a lot of aggression. Typical but they add a nice balance to the music. Lyrically, Primordial has always been strong. Telling tales of varying empowering subjects from the new album, Aaron retains his grasp on intelligent lyrical content in the earlier days as well. The guitars are a huge positive on this album. Ciaran is a talented guitarist that provides as much of the acoustic guitar as well as the electric guitar. Acoustically, he plays it very well and adds a touch of diversity. On the other end, a good portion is spent playing many droning riff patterns that adds quite an atmosphere. Occasionally playing some melodies at times as well. The drum work is pretty solid as well. Simon play’s a lot of black metal inspired patterns but kicks it up with varying degrees of speed. He can play slow patterns during the melancholic, instrumental sections or add a quick double bass pattern when the tempo beings to shift. The bassist, Pol, at times can be drowned out in the mix but shines in many sections, providing a catchy bass line from time to time. Starting at the 6:20 mark from Graven Idol” is a great example.
The production captures the band in it’s essence. Although I have the re mastered copy, nothing was tampered with, instead just improving upon aspects which was in poor need from the original master. "A Journey's End" combines the black metal aesthetic of old with a fair balance of folk elements that do not completely envelope or ruin what they were trying to create. Many other bands have done that and sealed their fate but Primordial are professionals. Primordial have always been a quality band that never sacrifices for the glory of mainstream attention. This album might be a grower for some but all in all this a well thought out and diverse record. They are a band that creates honest, forward thinking music that strives to be the best they can be without over analyzing the details. Fans of Primordial or metal in general should give this album a spin. When their’s a band that shapes the basic style of music and expands it upon previous ideas and into their own mold, it’s worth checking out. This is a worthy album to any music fan and in my opinion one of my favorite Primordial albums that I own, if not metal in general.
Guitar work is diverse and interesting.
Didn't you just get this? Sorry though, this isn't a good review. You don't do anything but compare it to their early or newer work. Too much comparing, not enough talk about the actual album.This Message Edited On 02.06.08
Whatever bro. If I took more than an hour i'm sure I could write a review up to your standards. But thanks to the pos feedback. Excellent album in my opinion.
Was this at me? If so, I wasn't being negative in my feedback (I thought decent was a compliment!?), and in no way am I saying that it wasn't up to my standards, hell, my last four or five reviews (barring my most recent, which I am reasonably proud of) haven't been that good... this is better than my tribes of cain review, for example.
One small thing that I'm interested in that you didn't explain fully in your review, you put in the pros' 'dynamics', I've gathered that the black screams are used more on this album than to the nameless dead, but how do they contrast with the cleans on this album? Are their soft-to-loud transitions, or are they just implemented within the songs naturally?
It has nothing to do with my standards, I just felt like you focused way too much on their other albums and not enough on this one. Explaining how something is different on this than on those is irrelevant if you havent heard those.
I still voted in the pos... but Cocaine is right, because I wasn't quite sure what this might sound like since I've never heard them before (I did get a general idea though)... but based on the review and additional information found in the comments it sounds like something to check out...
I found other albums of theirs to listen to, but not this one... I like what I heard for the most part, but I think I'll try to find this one before I dive into checking them out with a purchase since you said this is their best.