The Irish band Primordial has been around for more than thirty years. New albums are always special, because this Celtic pagan/black metal group takes the time to refine new material down to the smallest detail. The quality of the records released so far is very high. Not only has Primordial never delivered a bad album in its career, the Dublin company even has several masterpieces to its name. The Gathering Wilderness (2005) and To The Nameless Dead (2007), for example. These works are very different in character (introspective and dark versus epic and exciting), but both are considered classics. However, it has been relatively quiet in recent years. The excellent final feat Exile Amongst The Ruins dates back to 2018.
However, anyone who saw Primordial last October during the Ultima Ratio festival in Utrecht will hear a band that is perhaps more powerful than ever before. During this fantastic performance the group plays two songs from the new album How It Ends. It is the men’s tenth long player, so a milestone. While the albums mentioned above are actually hits from the first listen How It Ends needs some more listens. At first the album flows quite smoothly and you have to search for the grand, compelling sounds and riffs that Primordial always excels in. Many songs have an almost crawling structure, which means that the album requires patience from its listeners.
Everyone will agree on two songs. First of all, it is the absolutely phenomenal title track, which is guaranteed to be one of those classics in the making that the band has already written so many of in its rich history. The build-up is fantastic: the driving, stirring drum rolls evoke a feeling of rebellion, while the epic riffs and the noisy bass guitar push the whole thing to greater heights. The beautiful, Weltschmerz-infused text, vocally reinforced with great pathos and feeling by the ever-impressive AA Nemtheanga, is the icing on the cake. Secondly, it is driven We Shall Not Serve. The urgency and ferocity that this track contains will ensure that the song will be a highlight especially live.
The other material therefore requires more empathy from the listener, but he does get something back for his investment. In particular Plows To Rust, Swords To Dust, Pilgrimage To The Worlds End and All Against All develop into compositions that need some growing time. Although the first track starts very slowly, the song develops into a tough and compelling epic. Pilgrimage To The Worlds End is gloomy and almost drizzly, creating musical similarities with The Gathering Wilderness can be found. The subdued, moody guitar leads and the vocals delivered with great drama ensure that this composition also proves to be very convincing. It lasted almost nine minutes All Against All is distinguished by the gloomy atmosphere and the fierce throat of Nemtheanga, which even veers a bit towards black metal here. A ritualistic passage provides a moment of reflection, before the band works towards a beautiful climax full of exciting guitar work.
Actually stay alone Nothing New Under The Sun and Call To Cernunnos somewhat monotonous, even after many listens. These are not really weak songs, but they do lack some spice. Nevertheless, it is growing How It Ends So from a reasonable, but somewhat disappointing listening experience to an admittedly not brilliant, but still more than worthy new achievement. Finally, it should not go unmentioned that the album also has an excellent production, where it is particularly striking how wonderfully the bass guitar fits into the mix. Just so you know.
1.How It Ends
2. Plows To Rust, Swords To Dust
3. We Shall Not Serve
5. Pilgrimage To The Worlds End
6. Nothing New Under The Sun
7. Call To Cernunnos
8. All Against All
9. Death Holy Death
10. Victory Has 1000 Fathers, Defeat Is An Orphan