Thy Primordial
The Crowning Carnage

This Swedish melodic black metal band is back with their fifth release, The Crowning Carnage, their shortest album title ever. That is all that has changed, which should come as no surprise. Thy Primordial has not significantly altered their style, and they deserve recognition for staying true to that style. They have improved greatly over the years, and it is hard to comprehend why a band can release three quality albums with a high level of consistency and still be virtually unknown to a public that mostly knows them for their recently re-released Under Iskall Trollmane, the debut album that was in limbo for years. They have come a long way musically since then and deserve more attention.

Thy Primordial are certainly not the most brutal or extreme band out there, and they don’t pretend to be, but they have that high energy intensity that black metal demands to go along with strong songwriting skills and an ear for melody. There is plenty of melody generated the old-style metal way – from guitar. No folk influences here, or any unusual instruments. If you are a fan of Ancient Rites this is an album you will enjoy and if you are a fan of Dark Funeral you should appreciate it as well.

Not many bands can boast of four full-length releases with the same line-up. This long time five piece is now a four member band. The Crowning Carnage is the first album without all five founding members as guitarist N. Nilsson has left. Having a one guitar attack instead of twin guitars has not hurt them much. If anything, the playing is a bit more precise than on previous efforts and maybe a bit harsher because of it as well.

The Crowning Carnage is not as memorable melody wise as At The World of Untrodden Wonder, but definitely equals The Heresy of an Age of Reason. Structurally, the songs are tighter this time. Vocals once again are in the growling style used on The Heresy… instead of the black shrieks of the earlier albums. On The Crowning Carnage, the vocals have even more of a Lemmy Kilmister feel because the blackened edge prevalent on its predecessor is now mostly gone. Isidor proves to be an adept growler because he has not lowered his pitch so far as to be death metal and he is easier to understand now, though it may just be that I have gotten used to his voice over the years and can therefore catch more of the words on the first listen.

Maybe now that they are on Blackend, distributed by Candlelight, and no longer on Pulverized, the tiny label from Singapore, they will start to get noticed. This is not album of the year material, but it is a high quality release from an above average band that now can boast four quality albums. While they are likely to continue to release quality material, that elusive element that elevates the excellent to legendary is still beyond their reach.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Grimulfr
February 19th, 2002

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