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Primeval Mass - To Empyrean Thrones

Primeval Mass
To Empyrean Thrones
by Danny Sanderson at 12 April 2016, 1:39 AM

 Greece has a long and rich history of creating amazing Black Metal music. Bands like EMBRACE OF THORNS, MACABRE OMEN and A DIADEM OF DEAD STARS are producing some of the best Black Metal in the scene at large, and giants like ROTTING CHRIST stand among the upper echelons of the most known and loved Black Metal bands on the planet. Athens based one man outfit PRIMEVAL MASS are one of the mainstays of this amazing scene, and have been producing some of the best music the Hellenic Black Metal underground has to offer for close to sixteen years. The bands latest release, "To Empyrean Thrones", is the absolute zenith of their creative output thus far, another blaze of amazing, Thrash inspired Black Metal that raises the bar for any future music to incredibly lofty heights.

As "In Fiery Ascent" crawls into its first notes, the listener is treated to some really dark, eerie guitar lines, coupled with some monolithic, rhythmic drumming. Sonically, the sound balances tight, razor sharp melodies with a vicious, raw edge that gives the song an amazing overall sound. As the track progresses, the pace quickens to a fierce charge, and the eldritch, barbed vocals enter the mix. These vocal lines are arid howls and bloodcurdling rasps, and it fits the tone and approach of the music perfectly. It's an excellent opening gambit, setting a steep bar for the rest of the record to surpass. "For Astral Triumphs" sees the bands more dissonant, chaotic side come to the fore, with some rapid, thrashing leads providing a strong and infectious focal point for the bulk of this track. All in all, this is an extremely ferocious affair, peppered with melodic flourishes and some confidently performed rhythm sections. The song slides into much cleaner tones when the mood of the track shifts and calls for these sort of passages, but for the most part, this is an incredibly powerful juggernaut of a tune. The third track on the record, "Their Eyes of the Abyss", is a gnarly, speed-driven beast, dripping with venom and intense from its opening notes to its closing ones. It's a really cool slab of visceral, bestial Black Metal that it's hard not to get transfixed by. The song that follows it, "Behind the Watching Shadows", is another shorter, instrumental affair, but takes a much slower pace, creeping forward at an almost funereal dirge by comparison with the three songs that have preceded it. The sweet, wailing twin guitar leads do a great job of drawing the listener right into the track, and the music, as a whole, has a hair raising, epic quality to it that elevates this from being a good track to a great one.

The second half of the record begins on yet another brisk offering of Thrash inspired Black Metal in the form of "With the Emblem of the Blackwinged"; this is without a shadow of a doubt one of the best tracks on the record, thanks mainly to its authoritative rhythm sections and one of the records best and most impassioned vocal performances, all tied together with some imaginative, eclectic and interesting guitar hooks. "The Grand Ordeal" is a lively, catchy piece of music that couples energetic drumming and jarring, discordant guitar lines together to great effect. It's a brilliantly chaotic song that helps edge this record towards its final, climactic moments really well. The penultimate song here, "Hour of the Stellarnaut", is one of this records most concise, focused pieces of music. Despite being less than three minutes long, a lot of great hooks and ideas have been condensed into this one racing number. It's one of the most violent and intense parts of the whole record, and this is this songs main charm. The albums final track, "The Mansions of the Night", is a much cleaner, melody focused affair, and is strongly evocative, especially in its opening moments, of great bands like DISSECTION. Catchy and hook-laden to the nth degree, this gargantuan twelve minute opus is the crowning jewel of this magnificent album. It has plenty of the characteristic chaos that has marked the earlier songs on the record, but this is a much more streamlined, memorable piece of music. There isn't a dull moment on this track, and it's closes this album in style, leaving the listener eager for more.

"To Empyrean Thrones" is an album with a lot of really strong points, both musically and production wise. It's got some amazing, infectious, melody tinged leads and embittered vocal performances that will draw listeners in immediately, and the duller moments on here are few and far between. To think that just one man composed and performed all of the music on here is an even greater testament to just how good this record, and indeed this band, really is. With a record like this, PRIMEVAL MASS prove that they are the epitome of Greek Black Metal at the moment, and look set to break through in the scene at large.

4 Star Rating

1. In Fiery Ascent
2. For Astral Triumphs
3. Their Eyes of the Abyss
4. Behind the Watching Shadows
5. With the Emblem of the Blackwinged
6. The Grand Ordeal
7. Hour of the Stellarnaut
8. The Mansions of Night
Orth- All Instruments, Vocals
Record Label: Katoptron IX Records


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Edited 04 February 2023

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