Label: Metal Blade Records
Genre: Celtic Blackened Metal
Release Date EU: September 29th, 2023
A.A. Nemtheanga – Vocals
Ciarán MacUilliam – Guitar
Pól MacAmlaigh – Bass
Simon O’Laoghaire – Drums
How It Ends
Ploughs to Rust, Swords to Dust
We Shall Not Serve
Pilgrimage to the World’s End
Nothing New Under the Sun
Call to Cernunnos
All Against All
Death Holy Death
Victory Has 1000 Fathers, Defeat Is an Orphan
Primordial is one of the bands that I had of course all the time on my radar and I actually think the music is quite good. However, for reasons I can’t explain, I had never looked deeper into the music of the four-piece from Ireland. A few days ago the new album ‘How It Ends’ hit my door and it’s a good moment to explore Primordial in depth instead of just listening superficially.
‘How It Ends’ is the tenth album of the guys from Dublin and it’s ten, mostly longer songs, which delight fans with more than an hour of playing time.
What sets Primordial apart from the rest of the bands is their mix between Celtic heritage and blackened metal references. Such a fusion we don’t see very often and Primordial is the band that was one of the first to discover this mixture for themselves.
‘How It Ends’ is an exciting album from different perspectives. It starts with the title of the record. ‘How It Ends’, that is a question that can be interpreted widely. In today’s world, there is a feeling that in some circumstances many things are coming to an end. Culture, language, society and humanity, everything is in a test of time. The question is also what this means for traditions and relationships. Primordial’s new album does not give the answers to the questions, but it is a furious and also rebellious album around the topic.
With the exception of the instrumental ‘Traidisiúnta’, all songs on this album are of a very solid length. It starts with the title track and what stands out are the relatively extended instrumental parts at the beginning of several tracks which can almost be considered as a kind of epilogue. ‘How It Ends’ starts off in this fashion, where it is only MacUlliam’s guitar that takes you into the depths of Irish nature.
After almost two minutes the song gains momentum and evolves into a throbbing Primordial anthem.The core of Primordial is certainly the expressive vocals of frontman A.A. Nemtheanga who doesn’t just sing lyrics but gives each of the songs a life of their own. Powerful and atmospheric is ‘Ploughs to Rust, Swords to Dust’. The tune has a hypnotic impact and is one of the highlights of the record. It continues with the faster held ‘We Shall Not Serve’ which reflects the revolutionary energy not only in the title. It is rather a throbbing metal track that strikes immediately. Darker and more sonorous is ‘Nothing New Under the Sun’. With a stoic repetition of the main theme and Nemtheanga’s strong vocals, the song finds its way straight to the heart of metalheads.
The Celtic roots are clearly evident in ‘Call to Cernunnos’ and are brought into play again in the closing ‘Victory Had 1000 Fathers, Deafeat is an Orphan’. With ‘All Against All’ there is another crashing highlight, which revives the remaining black metal roots.
All in all Primordial have managed to record an energetic album, which on the one hand deals with the question of ‘How It Ends’, but at no time drowns in hopelessness. Rather, it is the revolutionary character of the songs that embody the willingness not to simply surrender to fate. Primordial have implemented this balancing act musically in a very good way and even if the album does not reveal all the details at the first listen, it is worthwhile to stay with it and discover ‘How It Ends’ little by little.
First published on Markus Heavy Music Blog
Written by: Markus Wiedenmann