Power of Metal.dk Review

Where Greater Men Have Fallen
Style: Epic Black Metal
Release date: 21 November, 2014
Playing time: 58:38

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 predecessor.

“Where Greater 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 strongest allure.

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.

Nemtheanga is 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.

“Where Greater 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.

01. Where Great Men Have Fallen
02. Babel's Tower
03. Come The Flood
04. The Seed of Tyrants
05. Ghosts of the Charnel House
06. The Alchemist's Head
07. Born to Night
08. Wield Lightning to Split the Sun
Label: Metal Blade Records
Distribution: Target (Denmark)
Reviewed by: Chris Galea
Date: 23 November, 2014
Website: www.primordialweb.net