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To The Nameless Dead
(Metal Blade Records)

I am not quite sure if you can consider this as a review on the new PRIMORDIAL album, since whenever I start writing about PRIMORDIAL it's like sharing thoughts about an old friend. This band has been part of my troublesome years and has always been a safe solace so to speak. Since their excellent demo tape "Dark Romanticism", PRIMORDIAL made it clear that they are definitely not another typical Black Metal band of their time. Being inspired by the grey Irish winters, the echoes of their country's past, loads of BATHORY (of course not copying them, just ask Alan what he thinks about Quorthon), the early 90s underground scene and of course tons of old Heavy Metal, PRIMORDIAL made it evident that they were by all means a special band. Facing major label problems during the "Imrama" days with Cacophonous not giving them the attention and support they deserved (lack of serious promotion and worldwide distribution) moving to Misanthropy with "Journey's End" (where they got a better promotion but limited touring opportunities) to the Hammerheart years (with "The Burning Season", "Spirit The Earth Aflame" and "Storm Before Calm") where for the first time PRIMORDIAL got the chance to become a proper touring band, but the fact remained that Hammerheart could not provide them with the means to become a full-time band, something that the band was after for sure. Hopefully their luck changed when they managed to get a deal with Metal Blade in 2005 and release their astonishing album "The Gathering Wilderness" making it obvious that at the time PRIMORDIAL got a chance to prove themselves in the ranks of a professional label, they surely did overcome everybody's expectations. Two years after, PRIMORDIAL return with their much-anticipated, brand new album, under the "promising" title "To The Nameless Dead". I guess that by now everybody knows that PRIMORDIAL incorporates "folk" elements, obviously inspired by traditional Irish music, but to call PRIMORDIAL Folk / Pagan Metal is by all means degrading. Comparing their fine, elegant songwriting craft with the tons of happy "la-la-la", smurf-sounding "Pagan" bands is like putting GORGOROTH next to BATHORY if you understand what I mean. In fact PRIMORDIAL circa 2007, don't sound very "primordial" to me in the sense that not only the sound has evolved but the lyrical aspect seems "contemporary" if you read between the lines. Musically the band has the unmistaken sound that all fans would recognize on the spot, but believe it or not, the band has managed once more to expand it by letting some obscure Heavy / Doom "influences" in and at times I even got few hints of ISIS / NEUROSIS. The band has managed to come up with a great, analog production this time that offers them a warmer, more natural / "welcome" sound that fits them perfectly. Great song structures, huge sounding crescendos, melancholy and the inevitable tragic / liberating ending that always seals every PRIMORDIAL album. No borrowed riffs from here and there, no parts that remind of old songs... "To The Nameless Dead" sounds so damn epic, tragic, honest and diverse that's hard to ignore. Of course the traditional Irish elements are still present, but in a more subtle way. For me at least, these fine Irishmen create true art and despite the fast-food consuming music industry that surrounds us, they manage to create albums that are nothing but pure art, albums we feel proud of having in our collection.

Manolis A.

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