Album Review: Primordial – Exile Amongst The Ruins


Primordial…how long have these guy’s been hanging around, and who of you have paid any attention? Not enough for mine, and the sad part is that you are missing out if you haven’t heard them or of them. Long story short, they encompass everything that Metal is all about. Let me explain.

Yep, they have a sound that is all their own, something I hold in the highest order of things as far as music goes. Great bands abound that have a similar tone, image or anything else, but it is the truly great that are instantly recognizable, and thus shall my tale tell a story of the ability to be both recognized, and yet not be. Hang tight kiddies, all shall unfold within the confines of this review.

This story might begin a little arse about face so to speak, but let us continue. Early nineties to now, yes. Nine (Ten now) full length albums plus various other things, yes. A band that has from day one not only decided to put their own stamp on what they do, and say fuck you to the establishment? Yes. How have they managed to do such things, and not only get away with it, but not been the biggest thing since the invention of the ring pull on a beer can and the death of our lord and saviour Jesus fucking Christ astounds me.

Alan Averill, aka A.A.Nemtheanga, is an interesting person. His fascinating choices in music have always been a product of what HE likes, and not what you would think is appropriate for a man of such stature, and yet, not a fuck he gives. Many a project has he done, some including Blood Revolt, Twilight of The Gods, and my personal fave, Dread Sovereign. He is not a man to be fucked with as far as being Metal goes. So what does this mean, if anything…

Nothing. And now I, a simple man, am going to compare him to an actor. Yes, how dare I, but listen on. I speak of one, and his name is Gary Oldman. You may have seen him in a film or seven. Mr. Oldman has the ability to BECOME the person that he acts out. So much so that I reckon you’ve probably seen a movie or two where you didn’t even recognize him.

How does that relate to Primordial, or Nemtheanga himself? The fan will know, and the newcomer should know. This man, through his voice alone, becomes what he is singing about. One minute, the poor man on the street, the next a ghost in a ruin that pays no heed to a past alliance and just is. A person on a boat fleeing the famine brought about by greed. A man fighting for his own blood. The hunter. The warrior. The lost. The lonely. He is their voice, and a powerful voice it is.

A man of many faces, bringing to mind the voices of the likes of many, and yet, have you ever heard a voice this distinct? Would you have him sing your tale, if you were worthy? Have I even dissected this new album enough for you? Nope, I have told you nothing. Yes, it is most certainly a Primordial album, and kudos to the rest of the band, for they are truly majestic in their delivery, and maybe they are the actual Gary Oldman of which we speak, for this is a magnificent effort.

Pick a song, any song, and I bet it will give you exactly the example of what I am talking about. Opener ‘Nail Their Tongues’ begins with the type of biblical reference that only a fool could miss, and sets the scene perfectly for an epic. ‘Hell or the Highwayman’ gives us the full vocal range, with a galloping soundtrack to push it along, a song of regret and loss, a song of knowing you have done wrong and punishment awaits. The Midas touch is what Primordial have, the perfect combination of musical ability and songwriting prowess. I shall explain no more, well maybe a little more.

To be frankly honest, there is no real immediate change on this album, nor to me has there ever been on any Primordial release, and that for me is the greatest thing of all. Although often labelled as Extreme metal, I have never found them to fit so well into that category. Primordial encompass everything in their broad vision, at times sounding as ancient as history itself but always moving forward. If you’ve heard them before, this album won’t make you burst into a fit of rage, or say you’ve heard it all before, it will simply make you sit back in awe and say one word. Primordial. Okay two, you can add a yes to that.

Mind you, you tell me when Primordial have ever failed to deliver, distinct in sound, noble in subject matter, heavy as all you can imagine. Not Death Metal heavy. Even heavier. It’s not always about the riffs. Sometimes the words are more important, and the intent is the final punch. Such Intent, such brilliance.


Rating: 5/5

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