Thursday, November 6, 2014

Primordial: "Where Greater Men Have Fallen"

Primordial has come along way since their inception as a Bathory tribute band.Now on their 8th full length they have continued the journey away from being black metal into a dark folk tinged power metal band. The classic metal sound is evident from the title track that opens the album. The guitar sound is massive and Nemtheanga's voice is piercing and commanding. He has really come a long way as a singer and truth be told a lot weighs on his voice which is frequently the driving force of many of these songs, not unlike how Ronnie James Dio's voice took full control of the songs he sang.

It doesn't take the band long to drift into a moodier more melodic direction. The chords of "Babel's Tower" ring out with delicious melancholy. This lower tempo makes the band sound doomier, along the lines of say Trouble.Their familiar triumphant sway returns on "Come the Flood".The vocal melodies where the chorus/ post- chorus bridge would fall are particularly strong, the song flows along at almost a drone pounding out the riff until they break it down into a more restrained strummed section. the title "the Seed of the Tyrants" sounds like it belongs on a Celtic Frost album, and it's not far from it vocally as they lean back into a faster more black metal approach here. The blur of trembling guitar sounds almost like a step backward for the band and I find myself waiting for it to break into something more interesting.But it doesn't however "Ghosts of the Charnel House" proves to be worth sitting through that song for. They launch into a more rock n roll riff , which is the catchiest on the album thus far.This works much better. The song ebbs and flows with more melodic and almost blues based break downs.

 There is also a very interesting and almost progressive riff on "the Alchemist's Head". Nemtheanga brings back his harsher vocal approach, which is effective here since they are not blasting away at black metal speeds. It took "Born to Night" a couple of listens for it to grab me, the first time I heard it the sonic throb of the song numbed me out to the point that it faded into the background.It opens with very delicate , almost post- rock guitar which lingers n for three and a half minutes before the metal kicks in. The vocal melody wanders over the riff more here almost acting as more of a dramatic narrative. They churn out more a folk tinged frolic with the riff on this one. They do build it up pretty impressively and will make you rethink calling other bands epic.

They close the album with the more folkish 'Wield Lightening to Split the Sun". Going into this you have to know the whole folk thing is part of their deal and they pull it off well. They deliver a much darker brand, which works better for me than some of the other larping clowns that skip around dressed out like vikings. If you are going to give folk metal a chance this is the band to do it with. I'll give this one a 9 as the step backwards into their older sound was almost a cop out considering the greatness they achieve at other places in the album that puts them way ahead of their peers, if they have any.

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