Like most people with ears, I love Primordial. Their latest album – Where Greater Men Have Fallen – is no exception. I actually found this album less ‘obvious’ than their others. Not obvious as in simple to write – I’ve never heard another band like Primordial, ever. Rather, this album didn’t immediately scream to me as say, the song “Bloodied Yet Unbowed” does. Those harmonies are still there, those uniquely engaging vocals, and the feeling that each song is the last dance you’ll ever dance (the dance of death). Yet whereas with previous albums I’ve found there are ‘parts you can skip to’ to get your quick fix of epic Primordiality, this is more of a collection of self-contained but flowing chapters of greatness.
“The Alchemist’s Head” has an almost Opeth-y feel to it, with uneasy harmonies and a continuous theme that sounds like it could go on forever. There’s a period in the middle where things get considerably weirder, with whole tone scales and dancing floor toms. One could be forgiven for picturing marching brooms and Mickey Mouse in a wizard’s hat. “Wield Lightning the Split the Sun” – quite the ambitious song title, especially for a final track! Wait till you’ve read the lyrics. If the primitivist needed a soundtrack, then let this song be it. Also, hearing the crash of the cymbal for the last few minutes on each quaver is deeply satisfying. Perfect end to the album.
“Babel’s Tower”, on the other hand, starts out like Mayhem-esque black metal. This is really apocalyptic stuff, except you don’t want the world to end because that would mean that Primordial went with it. The power of the drumming, the passion of the vocals, the fugue state of the guitars – this is real stoner-type stuff, if by stones we mean great big chunks of mountain. Considering the beginning of the song is so epically dark, it seems surprising that by the end it has become so strangely uplifting. But that’s something Primordial does – takes darkness, history (if there can be a distinction) and dance and twists them altogether to make life- (and death-) encompassing music. Drawing on their own catalogue, they make magical fusions, like alchemists.
1. Where Greater Men Have Fallen
2. Babel’s Tower
3. Come The Flood
4. The Seed Of Tyrants
5. Ghosts Of The Charnel House
6. The Alchemist’s Head
7. Born To Night
8 .Wield Lightning To Split The Sun
Alan Averill “Nemtheanga” – Vocals
Ciaran MacUiliam – Guitar
Michael O’Floinn – Guitar
Paul MacAmlaigh – Bass
Simon O’Laoghaire – Drums