Primordial
The Gathering Wilderness


4.5
superb

Review

by Blindguardian USER (5 Reviews)
June 4th, 2006 | 81 replies | 19,012 views


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist


4 of 4 thought this review was well written

Primordial
The Gathering Wilderness 2005

Primordial is:
Pól MacAmlaigh - Bass
Ciáran MacUiliam - Guitars
Alan Averill ("Nemtheanga") - Vocals (ex-Void of Silence)
Michael O'Floinn - Guitars (ex-Carnun)
Simon O'Laoghaire - Drums (Geasa)

Sometimes it is difficult to convey exactly what draws me to a particular album. The Gathering Wilderness possesses some intangible attribute, which I cannot quite describe. I have continually returned to the album, almost as if I were searching for that intangible quality. The music is undeniably beautiful, yet it exudes a bleak, hopeless feeling. The premonition of an onrushing cataclysm lies at the heart of every song. The album’s strength does not lie in the technical ability of the musicians, but rather in their ability to write songs, which tap into a well of emotion within the listener. This ability makes Primordial a band well worth devoting time to.

Each member of Primordial handles his respective instrument with undeniable talent; however, the individual parts are not overly complex. The drums provide a driving, mid-tempo pulse over which the guitars and vocals weave intertwining layers of melody. The bass mostly remains locked in with the guitars, adding to the low-end presence of the guitar lines. The somewhat distant sounding production of the rhythm section adds to the bleak feel of the music. As the bass and drums pulse steadily underneath the lashing, distorted guitars, a feeling of stoicism amidst the raging winds of a storm arises. The guitar lines are notable for their Celtic (not Celtic Frost) influence, wrapped within a layer of distortion. The guitars have a tone that, although distorted, retains its clarity. Tremolo picked riffs, betraying Primordial’s debt to Bathory, intertwine, creating depth to the arrangements of the songs.

The melodic sensibilities of the musicians are clear despite the distortion. “End Of All Times (Martyr’s Fire)" demonstrates the capacity of the guitarists to create beautiful melodic undertones. From 3:48-4:34, 5:42-6:13, and 6:30-7:42 different melodic patterns rise up from underneath the driving rhythms, sounding like mournful voices, diminished but not annihilated within howling winds. Although occasionally descending into a lower register, the vocals are largely sung, while retaining a harsh edge. The amount of emotion infused into the music through the vocals is perhaps the album’s greatest strength.

The capacity of Primordial to elicit an emotional response within the listener is clearest on “The Coffin Ships." The song is a tribute to the lives lost to Ireland through starvation, disease, and emigration between 1845 and 1849 during the Potato Famine. The vocalist conveys rage, impotence, loss, and hopelessness through the range of his vocals. The lyrics urge the listener to “Pause and you can almost hear/The sounds echo down through the ages/The creak of the burial cart." Through the interplay between the mournful guitar progressions, infused with Celtic undertones, and the sorrow of the vocal melodies, you can almost hear the suffering of those long dead. The song fades out with the same mournful guitar lines heard on the intro, this time accompanied by a violin and the sound of rain slowly falling. The unbridled explosion of rage that follows the acoustic intro of “Tragedy’s Birth" chills the bones, especially when the vocalist screams the words “And our civilizations turn to Dust," a premonition of the coming apocalypse echoing from the depths of pagan misanthropy.

Too many bands fail in their attempts to create music capable of emotionally drawing the listener. In order for the listener to feel emotion, there must be the sense that the band itself is genuinely passionate about their music; a musician cannot expect to illicit a response if he lacks connection to his own art. If this passion is lacking, the attempt comes of feeling disingenuous or contrived. When I listen to Primordial, I can hear that passion. Without it, The Gathering Wilderness would be nothing more than a failed, though well played, attempt to imitate Bathory.

4.4/5


user ratings (177)
Chart.
4.2
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Jondur
June 5th 2006



92 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Excellent review and probably the best album of 2005. I've loved Primordial since I heard the Dark Romanticism demo and then bought Imrama in the mid 90's. Personally, I still think 2002's Spirit the Earth Aflame is still their greatest moment but The Gathering Wilderness is still an amazing album - full of passion, atmosphere and great songs.

They're also one of the best live bands I've ever seen.

Hail Primordial!

Cravinov13
June 5th 2006



3854 Comments


good review. I should check these guys out

Thuathail
June 5th 2006



17 Comments


Nice review. I really need to check these guys out. I live in a homogenously Irish-Canadian community, and a couple of friends and I were thinking that we were going to innovate a genre like "Celtic Black Metal"... So, I want to listen to the guys who stole the idea we had last week...

Edit: Sarcasm.This Message Edited On 06.05.06

Daven
June 5th 2006



13 Comments


This is definitely my favorite album by Primordial. Nice review BTW.

Blindguardian
June 5th 2006



186 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Jondur, I haven't checked into their back catalog yet, but I think I'll have to now given what you said, I need to catch some bands live this summer as well
Cravinov, if you like Bathory at all you won't be disappointedThis Message Edited On 06.06.06

Slaapkamers
May 27th 2007



596 Comments


It's good.

Hawks
March 11th 2008



34450 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I couldnt get into this album as much as To The Namless Dead. I think its very good, but something just isnt clicking for me to think that this album is classic.

Digging: Equilibrium - Erdentempel

freudianslipknot
March 29th 2008



803 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review. I am just getting into Primordial - 18 months after the review was written End of all times (Martyrs Fire) certainly expresses multiple facets of Primordial and The Coffin Ships totally owns - incredible song. Actually, I am still weighing whether this is better than "To the Nameless Dead" and I rated that 4.5. I'll give it a few more spins.

Hawks
March 30th 2008



34450 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I listened to this a couple more times and realized that a 3.5 isnt a fair rating for this album. Its at least a 4 because its still great, even though i still dont think its as good as To The Nameless Dead.

freudianslipknot
April 1st 2008



803 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think this is marginally better than To the Nameless Dead. Well, I actually compared the two albums track for track - discounting "The Rising Tide" from Nameless Dead - and I had GW winning five of the seven comparisons.
Empire falls vs The Golden Spiral (winner EF from ND)
Gallows Hymn vs The Gathering Wilderness (winner GW from GW)
As Rome Burns vs Song of the Tomb (winner SotT from GW)
Failures Burden vs End of all Times (winner FB from ND)
Heathen Tribes vs Coffin Ships (winner CS from GW)
Traitors Gate vs Tragedy's Birth (winner TB from GW)
No Nation on this Earth vs Cities Carved in Stone (winner CCS from GW)

So I am forced to give this at least 4.5. Anyhow, I love both these albums.

Hawks
April 1st 2008



34450 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think that End Of All Times is better than Failures Burden actually. End Of All Times is actually my favorite Primordial song. Its probably because its the first one i ever heard from them.

freudianslipknot
April 1st 2008



803 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yes - you have a point about that. The one line in End of All Times gets me everytime: "I feel like a wounded animal, In the dying throes, In the dying throes." Maybe it's cos I'm an animal lover - but it's quite heart-wrenching. But some of those comparisons are very difficult calls.This Message Edited On 04.01.08

Hawks
April 1st 2008



34450 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Either way it doesnt matter which album is better because they are both great and epic. Primordial is one of the best Black Metal bands around today. I love the way they put a little bit of their home land into their music.

Wizard
July 10th 2008



19215 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Album isn't that good. Has some really fantastic moments followed closely by some really ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ parts.

Digging: Monarch - Sabbracadaver

Tyler
Emeritus
July 10th 2008



7928 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album is really good. Dont know why you're all "ALBUM ISN'T THAT GOOD" but you gave it a 3.5

Wizard
July 10th 2008



19215 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Its got some really good songs, ie. Coffin Ship, but then you have some songs that just feel like they drag a bit ie. Golden Spiral. Its just an initial rating. The pos' outweigh the cons obviously, hence my 3.5 for the time being. I think I didn't enjoy this as much because I listened To the Nameless Dead first, which was a stellar album. Its not wise listening to a bands catalogue from their previous stuff to their past works.

rasputin
July 10th 2008



14516 Comments


I found the album dragged in quite a few places. I've only listened to it a few times though, in the 6 months that I've had the CD, so maybe I need to hear it a little more.

Hawks
July 11th 2008



34450 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album is great, but To The Nameless Dead is much better.

McP3000
October 5th 2008



3941 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

i listened to this album and im really disappointed...

Kiran
Emeritus
October 5th 2008



6000 Comments


Yeah, To The Nameless Dead is superior.



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