Primordial are one of those rare metal bands from Ireland that have actually made a huge impact. Their contributions to Black Metal allows them to stand amongst many an evil giant. Combining Black Metal and Folk Metal isn’t new but their sound struck a distinct meld of experimental Black Metal with clean harrowing vocals, accompanying a bleak worldview as the raw sounds meld with snarls to develop their sound. Exile Amongst the Ruins is their ninth album and from a band that is so distinct but likes to keep to mild turns in musical directions, we can likely expect more of the same from their latest effort.
Perhaps it’s worth noting that Primordial fit within the atmospheric sides of Black Metal. Their raw sounds and buzz of a guitar is very deliberate and riffs happily play out continuously. ‘To Hell or the Hangman’ is exactly the kind of example of this and how they manage to keep this going so effectively for seven minutes is quite surprising by normal standards but they’ve made a career of it. The chants can be both harrowingly cold and like the woods of folk metal’s war chants, which helps keep their sound distinct.
Unsurprisingly dipping into pure Folk instrumentation lends the bands style a certain ability to break up the punishment of a complete barrage of drums and guitars. These frequently act as the prologue to each song that happily meld in their violent music. Each song has that element of being a story that winds down slow rivers despite a rough and aggressive flow.
This does allow for a distinct style that keeps very raw throughout. Songs like ‘Upon Our Spiritual Deathbed’, ‘Sunken Lungs’ and ‘Last Call’ almost bring their style to a sense of the epic poem made dark and corrupted by Black Metal. But their sound is hard to reach for many newcomers and furthermore allows a lot of the album to be expendable in the face of the rest of its parts.
Primordial are one of the greats of Black Metal and bring a consistent and original sound. This keeps a reward for fans of dark, experimental and atmospheric and certainly for Primordial fans but the album is at its core just short of that special something. Fitting nicely with the rest of their discography but overshadowed by Primordial’s giants.