Where Greater Men Have Fallen

Though around long before, since 2005’s The Gathering Wilderness Ireland’s Primordial has accomplished 2 things; became one of metal’s best bands, and second, locked doggedly onto a sound that’s unmistakably theirs, that none have recreated. So, if you were a fan of The Gathering Wilderness, as well as 2007’s To The Nameless Dead and 2011’s Redemption at the Puritan’s Hand, you will, be very very happy as Where Greater Men Have Fallen delivers the exact same craggy, windswept, captivating, epic sound.

I won’t lie, during the opening title track and its familiar gait, I was thinking the band might have phoned it in a little, as the track pretty well sums up the band’s sound for the last three albums, and truthfully is pretty interchangeable with any song from those releases. But then again, more of the same, when it comes to these guys is a pretty good thing. But as the album progressed, I started to get a sense that the band had indeed developed just a tiny shade, only very subtle nuances mind you, as the album is certainly almost identical to the last three, but those little changes certainly keep things interesting within the expected sound.

“Babel’s Tower” is the first track that seems to be a more developed sound being a moody, even for Primordial, almost doom song, but “Come the Flood” returns to the band’s familiar despondent but epic jangle and sway. But then “The Seed Of Tyrants” unleashes arguably the bands most ferocious, blackened, blast beat laden song since the band’s early career, including A.A. Nemtheanga delivering a more seething, pissed off delivery. “Ghosts of the Charnel House” renders a sturdy almost rock or southern Down-ish riff, but drenched with more somber, anguished emotion, especially from Nemtheanga, who delivers arguably his best performance on this track.

Of course the focal point of Primordial is still the vocals of A.A. Nemtheanga, who again delivers a soaring yet tormented croon, but as mentioned above, he even varies his delivery to have a few more gruff growls and anguished high pitched wails as heard in the disjointed and dare I day atonal “The Alchemist’s Head”, which starts a three track run where I kind of tune out. Not that there is anything terrible, it’s all expectedly Primordial, which is fine enough, and at times jaw dropping. But I think, like label mates Anaal Nathrakh, and their latest Desideratum, they are so locked into a delivery, treading a little bit of water, no matter how good they are when they really lock into their tried and tested sound (i.e. “Born to Night”, closer “Use Lighting to Split the Sun”).

Still, I imagine Where Greater Men Have Fallen will litter many year ends lists, and I have no problem with that, but I think it’s time Primordial challenges themselves and their formula. They are armed with one of metal’s best vocalists who is pushing himself (“Use Lighting to Split the Sun”), but musically I think Primordial could use an injection of creativity to keep them atop the metal scene which they were rightly elevated too a few years ago.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
December 9th, 2014


  1. Commented by: Cirkus-lizard

    This review kinda sums up why I haven’t picked up a release of their’s since The Nameless Dead. Gathering…was their peak

  2. Commented by: SRK

    This review kinda sums up why I have picked up all of their releases.

  3. Commented by: Dave

    This album has been one of those weird ones, where it seems to be an immediate album but really needs repeated listens to sink in. All in all, I love it.

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