Primordial - Exile Amongst The Ruins

Primordial - Exile Amongst The Ruins

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(CD/LP, Metal Blade Records, 2018)

A quick check will confirm that PRIMORDIAL have not released a bad, not even a mediocre album. Unfortunately, I have not yet had the chance to see how the Irish band delivers its epic Metal live as a headline act, but I hope “Exile Amongst The Ruins” will change this by bringing PRIMORDIAL to the US. And man, it should, because if you check the band’s backcatalogue, you’ll realize that every album is a powerful and solid piece of Metal, carrying a distinct sound. And rest assured because LP number nine will not change this and, in fact, is another great collection of songs in the still-growing PRIMORDIAL list.

The subtle but always present BATHORY epic sound is still here and is what has made me a fan of this band in the beginning. “Nail Their Tongues” opens the album in this way, smelling PRIMORDIAL from miles away, with an overwhelmingly heavy sound that does not need to reach high bpms to get you into headbanging mode. On top of everything, stands Nemtheanga’s storytelling-singing with his amazing Quorthon-esque harshness. What I consider as a unique feature in PRIMORDIAL is their ability to write long in time duration songs that don’t feel long at all. I mean, the album opener clocks nine minutes but you won’t even notice that. The way the song switches gears from being mid-tempo to touching upon Black Metal with the fast riffs and blast-beat-fast snare drum action without discarding any of the epic atmosphere is truly amazing. And then, comes the first song that made me look for the day the promo would reach my email box; “To Hell Or The Hangman” is an amazing song with a dramatic atmosphere that feeds from the guitar theme running throughout the song in a (again) BATHORY way. The repetitive rhythm guitar with Nemtheanga’s expressive and in times desperate grunts and growls send shivers down my spine and it is with a clenched fist I lip-sing “send me to Hell or to the Gallows” - just amazing! I think, it is the beauty of writing something that at first sounds simple but grows inside you with every spin until it gets you hooked. The way the slightly-distorted guitar arpeggios evolve into the heavy riffs paints the album’s title track with the most dramatic tones and additional credit are in order for the sound production because everything sounds live and analogue. What I am trying to say is that the album is not produced to death and therefore, the music has all the space it needs to highlight each musical instrument and at the right time. Just notice the high-hat and the rhythm guitars behind the vocals and you’ll see what I am trying to describe here.

The shortest song of the album is also the one that you will not be expecting to get stuck; yeah, “Stolen Years” is five minutes long (short in PRIMORDIAL’s scale), and even though the distortion is kept minimal, it hits you with the lyrics and the moody atmosphere. The way Alan talks about the stolen years will definitely unearth lots of emotions and I am sure you’ll follow the song’s intensity as it creeps under your skin, letting you headbang your way out of it the moment the guitars get louder in the mix.

It is pointless to describe this album with a bunch of words because “Exile Amongst The Ruins” is like a moving target in the sense that different things will come to mind and different emotions will surface up during each listening. There are many things to study and a whole lot to discover as you go through every layer this band has used. I mean, can you really described the epos of “Last Call” and the way it turns and changes in every verse? No, you can’t, but the process of doing so will uncover more things to like.





01. Nail Their Tongues
02. To Hell Or The Hangman
03. Where Lie The Gods
04. Exile Amongst The Ruins
05. Upon Our Spiritual Deathbed
06. Stolen Years
07. Sunken Lungs
08. Last Call


Pól MacAmlaigh - Bass
Ciáran MacUiliam - Guitar
A.A. Nemtheanga - Vocals
Simon O'Laoghaire - Drums
Micheál O'Floinn - Guitar