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Primordial "To the Nameless Dead" CD

Posted on Thursday, January 17th, 2008 @ 6:17am » permalink

Primordial - To the Nameless DeadIreland's Primordial is yet another band that I simply haven't followed closely enough over the years, and "To the Nameless Dead" (released by Metal Blade), their sixth full-length album, proves that I have no good excuse whatsoever for that fact. It's been five or six years since I last heard Primordial (granted I only missed one album during that period), at which time I was already discovering their work late in the game, but apparently they're among that elite breed of musicians that continues to improve at such a late stage in their existence by releasing impressively powerful albums.

The hour-long journey is made up of lengthy tracks that average about seven minutes apiece and at the highest level can only be described as creatively uncategorizable metal, which is of course a great niche for any band to fall into in this day and age where the vast majority of material can be easily tagged with this or that combination of genres. In many ways a lot of the tempos are powered by sweeping, melodic midpaced waves with occasional surges of speed or subtly atmospheric breaks, but the rhythms do flirt with some superb Drudkh-esque black metal riffing or sparse appearances of lush acoustic guitars on occasion. It all adds up to an array of bombastic intensity and epic vocal performances that actually reminds me of Neurosis to some degree. Of course the two bands basically sound nothing alike whatsoever, but there's still something about this album in particular – the subject matter, of course, but it's more than that – that makes me draw a parallel between the two groups as some sort of strange, disparate kindred spirits, if that makes any sense?

I don't know, I'm just rambling now, but whatever the case, this is an excellent album, and I need to finally go back and properly investigate Primordial's roots to learn where this all came from and find out what I may have missed. There's so much more to be said for this album, but I feel like you really need to hear it for yourselves to understand, so… that's what the sample below is for:

Primordial "Empire Falls"

The sea will be as a desert when my bones are long to dust, beneath shifting dunes and the searing unconquerable son. Pile the bodies on the pyre, warm the old heart of the earth. This is no place for faith, nor for hope. Just a journey through the darkest of nights, to the old heart of the earth. These are wounds made by cold hands that know the bite of steel, hands that have rendered life extinct and punished the weak at heart. Tell me what nation on this Earth is not born of tragedy? That has not felt such harsh weapons wielded by cruelty's desire?


@ The End Records
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  1. Bill says:

    I know their "a journey's end" album from before and I like it very much. I wanted to buy it but then I somewhat forgot. and I like the vocals very much which don't happen often this days.
    This song sounds great. Check "a journey's end" it is great record.

    another great post, as always. you're the man!

  2. Johnny says:

    The vocals definitely had some Von Till in them, as did the lyrics. It felt more rocked out and a little less buildup/release/cathartic though. Still good, and pretty individualistic in style as well. I'm definitely interested in hearing more.

  3. Steve says:

    This is definitely one of my favorite albums of 2007, and I think its the bands best album to date.
    Its just so compelling and passionate, I've played it over and over.

    Their style is unique but also not heavy handed. There is some black and folk influences, but no damned keyboards or flutes or garbage like that.

    They are also amazing live, but they've only played the US the one time I saw them, if I remember correctly. If you have the chance, go see them!

    I also suggest the Imma Rama/Journey's End 2 album combo, and Spirit the Earth Aflame, though all of their albums are very good.

  4. Anonymous says:

    this was my favorite album of the previous year

  5. Dichatomy says:

    I like it. Another on my list of possible future purchases – as in, if I can spare the money, I'll consider it.

    […]can only be described as creatively uncategorizable metal, which is of course a great niche for any band to fall into in this day and age where the vast majority of material can be easily tagged with this or that combination of genres.

    Gone are the days when [metal] fans could rely on just a handful of terms to describe their chosen genre(s) and have others understand what it was. Now, there are so many genres and sub-genres that music gets thrown into and it's hard to tell the difference sometime, especially if you're dealing with a person who's not all to familiar with that part of the landscape.

    I consider myself a fan of all kinds of metal. Sure, there are "genres" that I listen to more than others and have a preference, as well as stuff I'm not particularly fond of. But I'm willing to at least give most anything a chance (like I do with a lot of the music you post about here, a lot of it doesn't really do it for me, but there are some bands that are now on my radar because of this blog); if it's good music, the label slapped on it doesn't matter.

  6. Todd says:

    I would actually argue that LOTS of metal is fairly uncategorizable now.

    Sure, there's still a lot of, say, straight ahead death metal bands, but a lot of metal bands really draw from a wide berth of influences, it seems to me, and most genre impositions are kind of ludicrous.

  7. chris says:

    aren't the vocals are a lil' too "dramatic"/sympho?

    i agree a good number of bands nowadays strive for "originality" (often for its own sake), blend their influences and want to avoid pigeonholing. but… how many of them do actually succeed in writing good songs (in the most general of terms)? i'd rather listen to something done to death, but good and heartfelt, than vacuous and smug originality. (this does not go for primordial, of course)

  8. Anonymous says:

    this track you've posted alone is worth of purchasing the album. there is not much bands who can blend together folk and metal music together in such an organic way.

  9. justin says:

    Good band. I have several of their releases. I just can't totally hang with the somewhat corny vocals. I liked it better when he alternated between the black metal snarl and the pompous singing thing. Still, I'll be picking this up cause their music is very strong.

  10. someone else says:

    there is (was – i think it's sold out) DigiBook release which contains 2 CD and very beautiful DigiBoox. The 2nd CD is from some live show. It's nice that still exist bands which put some effort in the packaging, but on the other hand labels with that kind of move receive more money so…

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