Exile Amongst The Ruins

Album number 9 from Ireland’s favorite sons see the band stick doggedly to the now perfected cragged, epic metal but also sees the band become a more tempered, somber act that results in an album that continues the band’s legacy, but seems to have a strange air of exasperation and despondency to it that I cant put my finger on.

At its very heart, the album delivers the steadfast delivery of the band’s last few predictable but still  enjoyable releases going back to 2005s watershed release, The Gathering Wilderness,  up to 2014s Where Greater Men Have Fallen. The majestic , rolling, triumphant, windswept riffs are still present as is A.A. Nemtheanga’s unmistakable emotive croon, which still carries the music. But the mood of the album seems just a bit more somber than prior albums.

It would be easy to point to the album’s first single/video (and it lyrics) “Stolen Years”, where the band treads up until now, unheard , pure balladic territory, but listen to the chorus of opener “Nail Their Tongues”, “To Hell or the Hangman”,”Where Lie the Gods” or the title track ; there’s a subtle, pervasive aura of dejection now intermingled with Primordial’s already emotive, sweeping  sound, with more of an emphasis on darker, rock,  dare I say, goth hues here and there. It’s as if Primordial are morphing into mid 90s Paradise Lost. I mean- there is a (great) 10 minute closing song called “Last Call” .

That’s not to say  Exile Amongst The Ruins isn’t  still a magnificent album. It is, and the band’s once predictable gallop and  trot has been laced with even more emotion that gives Primordial’s already evocative tumble, a more draining, wilting gut punch. The album also features two of the band’s  better songs of the last few albums in “Upon Our Spiritual Deathbed”, with a steady, moody pace leading into one of the album few rousing (but still tangibly morose)  galloping, peaks and  “Sunken Lungs” a repetitively hypnotic,  simple track laden with a mesmerizing maritime sway with one of the band’s best riffs in years. “Last Call” ends the album with 10 minutes of almost pure/traditional doom, delivered with the band’s unerring, jangly, foggy visage.

The knock on Primordial for a few albums was that they were treading water. With Exile Amongst The Ruins , they have managed to stay the course with but added some much need subtle developments to their finely honed sound that sees the band continue to be one of metals most deservedly respected bands.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
April 16th, 2018


  1. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    this might be the best Primordial song I’ve ever heard because of what you mention: the goth and post-punk aspects are really strong while still keeping the blackened folk aspects strong. really cool song.

  2. Commented by: Clauricaune

    Is it just me or is there a bit of a The Cure kind of vibe on some tracks?

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