To the Nameless Dead

The sound Irish metallers Primordial have developed over the last few albums is actually a lot like Ireland (namely Eire); it’s sweeping, rugged, majestic and also barren and beautiful at the same time. There’s also a sense of sadness and loneliness built into the fiber of both band and land.

Nowhere is this more prevalent than on the bands 7th album, To The Nameless Dead, which has the unenviable task of following the critically acclaimed The Gathering Wilderness. Once again armed with rangy tracks of heathen pride and AA Nemtheanga’s throaty croon (arguably still the only sticking point with some fans, though I think it’s a perfect fit), To The Nameless Dead admirably fits the bill and delivers one of the most moving and epic albums of the year.

Admittedly opener “Empire Falls” doesn’t quite open the album in truly amazing fashion, but the rending threads and pained vocal work of “Gallows Hymn” will dig at your soul and wisk you away to some craggy battlement overlooking the crashing waves on Irelands rugged coast. “Failure’s Burden” is another epic track that is laden with a tangible sense of gruff sadness, but in contrast the albums other standout tracks like the knee wilting brilliance of “Heathen Tribes” (possibly one of the best tracks the band has ever penned) with its deft ethnic, pagan undercurrent and stunning chord progression and the almost pure black metal-ish “Traitor’s Gate”, arguably the most aggressive track the band has delivered in a while (even featuring blast beats and some rasps and growls from Nemtheanga) show the bands amazing dichotomy and range of emotions. The band are just masters of riffs that truly evoke subconscious, primordial emotion as well as the timeless beauty of their homeland.

Of note, the production seems to be a bit fuller than on The Gathering Wilderness,(another sticking point for some fans) with a bit more depth and bass but still retaining that strained, grainy tone that’s suits the material perfectly. All this just makes for a absolutely incredible album that follows the stunning The Gathering Wilderness perfectly and shows that Primordial are not only Ireland primary metal export, but one of the very best bands in metal today.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
December 28th, 2007


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