I remember first hearing Primordial in 2005 with their release "The Gathering Wilderness". A heartfelt account of Irish hardship, gloom and doom, delivered in a refreshing black metal / folk style. Two years later on, I still love that album and worship it as one of the few albums released that year which kept my interest in newer metal optimistic. These somewhat underappreciated Irish kings have released yet another brilliant album in "To The Nameless Dead", and whilst the style is not as fresh or new to me as it was when I first stumbled upon the band, the release is nonetheless enchanting and moving.
In comparison to older releases, "To The Nameless Dead" is definitely a natural progression - don't expect anything wildly different from the likes of 'TGW' or even the prior two to that. The sound is a little thicker, slightly more layered and a little more produced / clear (in particular the vocals), but as I said, a song off this album wouldn't feel out of place on the others mentioned. For those of you who are new to Primordial, they play a neo folk / ambient black metal. The blackened elements come through mainly in the vocal delivery and the Bathory influenced complexities of the composition (like an onion, it layers upon itself many times over). Riffs are thick, heavy and repetitive in sound creating a reflective mood and delivering a very sombre ambience. As far as providing another band for comparison - I can't ... they are unique to my ears, but are quite easily listenable without being unfulfilling.
In my review of TGW, I described the imagery as if I were at a cliffs edge facing an ocean of storms and devastating seas, mist lightly spraying into my face. The same imagery does not apply to this album, which is why it stands apart from its precedent. This album is about death, life and the histories to be told after both - of war, of loss, of battles of ruins. The imagery conjured by this album is somewhere in between all of this - in the midst of war, with no immediate battle engaged. Drums pound as if to antagonise further battle, but vocals cry of the tragedies it will bring and the hopelessness it causes. The guitars fill the rest, complementing both in perfect harmony. Smoke rises from the earth, ash falls to the ground and a few warriors tread through these histories of the past on to their futures, whatever they may hold.
Few of my reviews are so heavily imagery centric, but for me Primordial is visual and aural, probably more so than most bands (save maybe At the Gates and a few others). I thoroughly encourage you all to try this band out, few people are disappointed and the more you listen to it, the more it will grow on you.
This surely is, one of the great releases of 2007 - HAILS Primordial!
1. Empire Falls
2. Gallows Hymn
3. As Rome Burns
4. Failures Burden
5. Heathen Tribes
6. The Rising Tide
7. Traitors Gate
8. No Nation On This Earth