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Primordial - Exile Amongst The Ruins

Exile Amongst The Ruins
by Erika Kuenstler at 12 March 2018, 7:28 AM

PRIMORDIAL is a band that needs no introduction. Over the course of their career, which spans almost three decades, they have integrated themselves as one of the most unique bands in the metal scene, firmly eking out their own niche in the Pagan Metal world. This year sees them return with their ninth full-length album “Exile Amongst the Ruins”, a follow-up to their excellent 2014 release, “Where Greater Men Have Fallen”. Due for release at the end of March, “Exile Amongst the Ruins” sees PRIMORDIAL return to a rawer sound than their previous albums held, yet without compromising any of the seething emotions for which the band is so well known.

A tolling bell rings in the album, with “Nail Their Tongues” floating in on a fragile acoustic melody. This suddenly morphs into a cumbrous drummed tune, providing a swaying counter to Nemtheanga’s powerful vocals. Chunky bass-lines and tempestuous guitar riffs complete the song, building up to a frenzied climax overlaid by haunting vocal lines. An abrupt ending leads us to the faster paced “To Hell or the Hangman”, which has already been released as an official video. With its galloping rhythm leading us forth into the fray coupled with captivating lyrics, I can only imagine how enthralling this song must be live. “Where Lie the Gods” takes the pace down a notch, with a mesmerizing melody weaving a dream-like sonic tapestry that slowly ebbs and flows, gradually building in complexity. Next up we have the title song of the album, “Exile Amongst the Ruins”, a slower and more melancholic song, with a swamp-like atmosphere that sucks you into the morass of its depths.

This leads to “Upon Our Spiritual Deathbed”, which has a dirge-like tempo, interweaving an unstoppable marching pace with scattered moments of hope, leaving us with a feeling of inevitability tinged with fragments of anticipation. “Stolen Years”, also released as an official video, on the other hand is perhaps one of the slower songs on the album, with a drudging atmosphere. In my opinion though, PRIMORDIAL have gone a bit too far with building the atmosphere on this one, leading to a song with a hollow feel to it. “Sunken Lungs” soon makes up for this though, with a roiling and turbulent song, giving one last fight before leading us to the final song “Last Call”.  This song steadily unfurls, its ethereal melody gradually giving way to a doom-laden, gloomy song that slowly starts to fight back and become more potent; a strong end to an equally strong album.

Overall, “Exile Amongst the Ruins” is a quintessential PRIMORDIAL album, not to be missed by fans of the band; this album proves that the band have lost none of their power or venom over the years. With the shortest song being just over 5 minutes, and the longest clocking in at over 10, PRIMORDIAL use this time to play with the intensity of their songs, gradually building the songs up to a climax before bringing them down again. This can at times give the album a ponderous and heavy feel, but at the same time does help in building up the atmosphere, although this can be overdone at times. Nevertheless, this is still an album that makes you pause and reflect, as so many of PRIMORDIAL’s albums do. In short, whilst perhaps not their strongest album to date “Exile Amongst the Ruins” is still a powerful album, which deserves a place in their discography in its own stead.

PRIMORDIAL will be touring Europe this April, along with MOONSORROW and DER WEG EINER FREIHEIT, so be sure to catch this phenomenal line-up if you can!

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 9
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Nail Their Tongues
2. To Hell or the Hangman
3. Where Lie the Gods
4. Exile Amongst the Ruins
5. Upon Our Spiritual Deathbed
6. Stolen Years
7. Sunken Lungs
8. Last Call
A.A. Nemtheanga - Vocals
Ciaran MacUilliam - Guitar
Michael O'Floinn - Guitar
Pol MacAmlaigh - Bass
Simon O'Laoghaire - Drums
Record Label: Metal Blade Records


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