I still regard
Primordial’s previous album, “Redemption at the Puritan’s Hand”, of 2011, to be
one of the best Metal album’s I’ve ever heard...and that’s not a statement I
make lightly. It’s certainly a good benchmark to go by as far as quality is
concerned so when I started listening to this brand new “Where Greater Men have
Fallen” album, my mindset instinctively kept placing it alongside its
Men...” is a Doomy mid-tempo Epic Black Metal with subtle hints at Celtic Metal
(check ‘Born to Night’ for an example of the latter). Less subtle, however, is
the album’s propensity for Psychedelic soundscapes and ‘Ghosts Of The Charnel
House’ is a good illustration of this. With relatively long instrumental
passages between verses, it’s all very emotionally-laden music that doesn’t seem
to be in a hurry to get from A to B. Indeed the album’s intensity is its
It’s not a
vehicle for the band members’ technical prowess and yet the feeling I get is
that everyone is committed to sharpening the music’s emotional blade as it digs
deeper into the listener’s heart. Take, for instance, the singing of Alan
Averill ‘Nemtheanga’ – there are no screams or growls but his voice is intense,
dark and melodic.
also behind all the album’s intriguing lyrics. Generally speaking, they deal
with Mankind’s arrogance and hypocrisy and are a perfect complement to the
bleakness of the music. For example the title-track is an exposť on the
deification of men involved in legal killing apparatuses. ‘Come the Flood’ uses
Biblical analogies to lament “this dreadful history we have sired”. ‘The
Alchemist’s Head’ is inspired by the iconoclastic poet and painter William
Blake, famous for his depictions of Hell. Overall the lyrics’ quality is
excellent and eloquently craft vistas of gloom.
So how does
“Where Greater Men...” compare to Primordial’s recent past? Admirably, generally
speaking. The issue I have with this album is its dynamics which tend to be
rather linear – in other words I would have loved to hear a bit more creativity
and variability with the songwriting.
For me the
standout tracks are ‘The Alchemist’s Head’ and the wittily-titled ‘Born to
Night’. In ‘The Alchemist’s Head’ the band delves deeper into the aesthetics of
Black Metal and has some rare moments where Primordial flex their creative
muscle. ‘Born To Night’ is the album’s only song which I found easy to envision
being played in a live scenario. You could almost discern some Iron-Maiden
inspired melodies towards the end of the song.
Men...” will strike a chord with fans of a wide variety of Metal genres. So,
especially if you’ve never heard this Irish band, forget any genre
preconceptions you might have and buy yourselves a copy.