Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Initial Impressions: Primordial: Redemption at the Puritan's Hand

I have been listening to Primordial for a few years now, ever since discovering their 2007 album. I identify with Irish music, being Irish myself. It has always had a bit of a heart-wrenching quality to it. Primordial takes this quality and applies it to their own brand of extreme metal.

Although it has been a long time since Primordial's music could really be classified as black metal, they do still have their moments when their aggression comes through, most notably on "God's Old Snake". The riffing on that song is as close to black metal as the band has gotten in several albums. A.A. Nemtheanga even resurrects his raspy black metal voice on this track.

Most of the rest of the album is similar to the band's most recent output. Melodic, yet crushing and emotional. Primordial has always been a band of contradictions. They can put out an absolutely menacing track and then immediately switch gears to reflective and somber in the blink of an eye. The track immediately after "God's Old Snake" is a particularly noteworthy example of this. "The Mouth of Judas" is a long track, but the emotion keeps it listenable. Nemtheanga has never really sounded as vulnerable as on the verses of this song.

Primordial is Nemtheanga's band. Without him, they would likely be quickly forgotten. His distinctive vocal style fits in so well with the music that it practically becomes the music. Oftentimes I find myself missing what is going on musically because Nemtheanga's voice is so impressive and trance-inducing. That is actually kind of a shame because the band has really outdone themselves on this one. They sound better than they ever have before, and that is saying something.

This is a definite contender for the Top 10 at the end of the year. Primordial keeps getting better. I thought it would be tough to top To the Nameless Dead, but this certainly comes close.

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