Review 1921 : Primordial – How It Ends – English

Primordial once again awakened.

Founded under the name Forsaken, the band changed its name in 1992 and began its adventure between Black Metal and Celtic influences. In 2023, the three founders A.A. Nemtheanga (vocals, Dread Sovereign, The Nest, Twilight of the Gods, Verminous Serpent), Ciarán MacUilliam (guitar) and Pól MacAmlaigh (bass), accompanied by long-time drummer Simon O’Laoghaire (drums, ex-Dread Sovereign), announce the release of their tenth album, How It Ends, on Metal Blade Records.

The album opens in melancholic tones with How It Ends, the eponymous track. Guitar eventually splits to create dissonant harmonics, followed by a haunting rhythmic base, then by those powerful, demonstrative vocals that don’t hesitate to intensify to create heart-rending passages as the Black Metal influences surge through. The final solo leaves us with Ploughs to Rust, Swords to Dust and its heaviness, which welcomes heady leads to create an interesting contrast before waves of fury arrive, led by raw vocals and massive drums. Folk melodies freely resonate, guiding us into We Shall Not Serve, which quickly becomes much heavier and darker, constantly fuelling an alliance of heavy and aggressive sounds, even in the slower middle section, or the ominous clean break. Saturation soon returns to bring the composition to a close, giving way to Traidisiúnta, a short, intoxicating instrumental interlude that soothes the atmosphere before Pilgrimage to the World’s End follows, placing its hypnotic leads on a much gentler, more accessible footing. Vocals remain very free and expressive, offering an almost overwhelming flight of fancy towards the end, then Nothing New Under the Sun develops a very progressive rhythm, but you can clearly feel the flame intensifying before letting the band explode, sometimes borrowing a few Post-Rock influences. Call to Cernunnos obviously pays homage to the band’s Celtic Pagan/Folk roots with almost playful melodies, but also with unexpected backing vocals, before returning to a more martial dynamic with All Against All, which plays on overtly darker tones, evoking different beliefs with lyrics such as « Kali Yuga » or « Ragnarök », which fit perfectly with the track’s apocalyptic ambience. There’s a break with mysterious overtone singing before the riffs return, intensifying until Death Holy Death, the album’s shortest track, reveals its slow-burning approach, coupling dissonant leads with a fairly rhythmic basis that knows how to place more energetic touches. Victory Has 1000 Fathers, Defeat Is an Orphan, the first track to be unveiled, brings the album to a close, skilfully blending slightly heavy passages with more motivating, heady tones, as on the finale, where the vocalist unleashes his fury one last time.

Primordial‘s unique blend hits the mark once again. The band’s fans will undoubtedly be won over by How It Ends, which once again lets the band explore its rich universe while offering a unique and striking identity to each track.


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