Vera : Primordial has regaled the world with a signature style. These Irishmen have built up their irresistible status, based on Celtic folk elements, black metal and sturdy heavy metal. This amalgamation comes to a new summit after 27 years of existence, on the ninth studio album ‘Exile Amongst The Ruins’ on which the decline of ancient European values in current society is x-rayed. Not in all of the lyrics, but it appears to lit the fire when creating the successor of the – top notch as well – album ’Where Greater Men Have Fallen’ (2014).
The new album sounds more raucous than its predecessor; it came into being with hard graft, because not every member was able to be present at the writing and recording sessions at the same time. Since ages Primordial functions as a group of friends, this time they had to use modern facilities to forge everything together. No panic, it did not influence the intensity typical for the band. Recorded at the Camelot Studios (Dublin) with producer Ola Ersfjord, eight lengthy epics are fired at us with an average length of eight minutes. It happens to be an enchanting soundtrack from start to finish, opening with ‘Nail Their Tongues’ and its sonorous guitar sounds come crawling to you, atmospheric beauty and the proud, heroic chants of A.A. Nemtheanga proclaiming in a powerful and passionate manner. One moment introspective and thoughtful, few minutes later standing on the barricades with slogan-like fervency. His expressive art has always been the motor of the band, however without underestimate the value of that stiff opulence of sure-fire guitar walls/leads and the exquisite rhythm section. The rocking ‘To Hell Or The Hangman’ might be called inciting and catchy, with its hypnotizing guitar layers and beautiful soloing. ‘Where Lie The Gods’ begins with folkloristic tinge and proves this is a band with severe insights, musically as well as lyric-wise.
The latter talent comes to full development in the captivating title track. It is an almost resigned epic which includes an undercurrent of Pan-European tragedy. In several songs, for instance in ‘Upon Our Spiritual Deathbed’, proper accelerations lead towards blastbeasts (no typo here!), referring to their blackened roots. These are still present! Next they slacken down pace in reveries about getting older and the company of good friends, during the moving ‘Stolen Years’. With its peaceful atmospheric sounds and extraordinary vocals it really touches you deep inside your heart. At some point it even has a doom-like drawling flavour. ‘Sunken Lungs’ is inspired by a wreck of a ship at the seaside and it is rather wild and energetic, with smoothening howling leads. The ten minutes long occluding track has a kind of empyrean feel, idiosyncratic for Primordial’s art. It includes proper amounts of drama with the question: who’s going to save us? Thus it goes from ultra powerful to determinately to (finally) desperate and sad. Anyways, that’s how I interpret this captivating ‘Last Call’. A next Primordial album that sends shivers down your spine! Sublime!