Kind: Epic / Pagan / Celtic Metal
Label: Metal Blade Records
One thing I have to admit, openly, clearly and bluntly in relation to the Irish Epic / Pagan Metallers: No matter how many years pass, no matter how many fluctuations there are in their discography – in relation to each release, or to specific periods -, their heavy paper remains one and only: Their soulful songwriting.
I mean, a lot can change from album to album -the production, the orchestration, etc.- but their dramatically epic steel, with black metal references, and Alan Averill’s performance spitting despair, lament, rage and hatred, calling back to the next upheaval, is stamped on red-hot iron and will never change.
All of the above is the main feature of “How it Ends” album and those who decide to treat this specific record,avoiding compulsive comparisons with the past – will surely talk about a great release.
The first two singles set the stage and I can even rank “Victory Has 1000 Fathers, Defeat Is an Orphan” and “Pilgrimage to the World’s End” among the great moments of this album, with “Victory…” playing ideal an epilogue role to the entire record – being in my opinion one of the most complete tracks that the band has given us in recent years-.
On the other hand “Pilgrimage…” emphasizes as a sample of writing in its simplicity, how Primordial know how to generously distribute real epic music. And it’s Nemtheanga’s singing performance that places the track very high on its throne.
“We Shall Not Serve” is without a doubt another composition that seals this release. Followed by epics such as “Call to Cernunnos” (an anthem to Pagan Metal past – present of the band), the instrumental “Traidisiúnta” (a songwriting example of epic Metal mastery) but also “Ploughs to Rust, Swords to Dust” – the verses whose will certainly remind you of the 90s PRIMORDIAL heritage-.
Simplicity and directness with basic single guitar themes is a dominant feature of the record. I found myself wondering what the overall effect would have sounded like, if the band had orchestrated more of the album’s songs along the lines of “Victory…” and the verses of “Ploughs…”, creating railroad-like guitar walls that evoke a parts in the epic phraseology of Black Metal-. No, this question does not arise from the logic of comparison with the past, I simply notice how well the above described pattern continues to work inside the newest (2023) music of PRIMORDIAL and I would like a little more, that is all!
At the end of the day “How it Ends” album -that will be released on September 29th- left me completely satisfied. As long as the epic and dramatic musicianship remains the main point of reference in the music of Primordial, everything is fine for me. Especially when I notice that even through their lyrics, they clearly show that they take their Art and its Message very seriously.
Hail to Primordial!