Primordial - To the Nameless Dead (Metal Blade Records) - Back
There are some bands that seem to have been around forever yet gain limited notoriety, bands that everybody has heard of and few people have heard. Primordial is one of those bands. Having formed in Ireland during the late 1980's, Primordial released four full-length albums on smaller labels, before signing to Metal Blade Records for 2005's "The Gathering Wilderness". Being on a bigger label, "The Gathering Wilderness" created a bit more buzz than it's predecessors and generated a good deal of momentum for the follow up "To the Nameless Dead". Primordial have done their part to take advantage of the situation, as "To the Nameless Dead" is a top notch release and arguably the band's finest work to date.

Primordial's sound is impossible to pigeonhole, suffice it to say that they stand at the shadowy crossroads of doom, melodic black metal and Viking metal. Primordial's songs mix simple melodies with bursts of blackened rage, to create a stark depressive sound. The key to Primordial's success is vocalist A.A. Nemtheanga. Nemtheanga mixes his expressive clean vocals with a harsh throaty rasp and conveys a great deal of emotion through his voice. He makes good used of cadence and inflection to add a sense of gravity and a certain amount of drama to the music. The lyrics are a highlight rather than an after thought, being both thought provoking and poetic.

While somewhat minimalistic and raw, "To The Nameless Dead" does not sound under-produced or unfinished. It is produced and polished just enough to allow it to shine while retaining the roughhewn charisma that is a hallmark of Primordial's sound. The end result is a huge-sounding album that conjures vivid images of landscapes doted with decaying ruins, and haunted by the ghosts of mankind's regret.

Primordial have spent years refining their sound, carefully building on what they have done without compromising their identity. "To the Nameless Dead" is a deep and engaging album that stands out as one of the highlights of the band's stellar catalog. I highly recommend this album and suspect that devotees of many of metal's sub-genres will appreciate what Primordial are doing.


Reviewed By: Garett F.