Review: Primordial – Redemption at the Puritan’s Hand (2011)

 Genre: pagan metal, black metal, folk metal
 Label: Metal Blade Records
 Country: Ireland
 Listen: SoundCloud

Redemption at the Puritans Hand is Primordial's follow-up to their (rightfully) popular To the Nameless Dead. These guys make black/pagan/folk metal and while that specific combination of genres normally would lead me to a fit of endless nausea-induced regurgitation, Primordial actually know what they're doing. Maybe it's because they're Irish and try to sound Irish, instead of being Scandinavian and trying to sound Viking (or being whichever non-Scandinavian nationality and trying to sound Viking...), which essentially seems to mean that bands turn into leather/sackcloth-clad pussies who'd rather play with their flutes than actually making music worthy of their ancestors.

Regardless of most bands in this style not getting it, Primordial's infusion of black metal with Celtic-themed lyrics and a certain melancholy that seems to fit the Irish so well is highly original and just works perfectly. A lot of hypnotic riffing, build-ups and powerful drumming carries you on a journey along the myths and history of the Celts of yore. Besides the more drawn out guitar work (e.g. Bloodied Yet Unbowed), melodic parts (e.g. The Mouth of Judas) and rhythmic pummelling (e.g. The Black Hundred) offer variation and depth to this album. No cliché bombastic bullshit, no needless technical masturbation, just pure atmosphere and power.

The singer, Nemtheanga, mainly employs a powerful and gripping (almost) narrating style of raspy vocals which soar into the heights when needed and sometimes (rarely, actually) devolve into straight-up black metal screams. This by itself is -very- refreshing to hear! On parts of the second track, Lain with the Wolf, he even sounds like avant-garde god Czral (Virus) and all in all he seems to have improved compared to their earlier efforts.

In short, the music and the vocals work in perfect unison to draw a clear picture of melancholy and lost history without ever falling into cliché and cornyness. This may even be better than their previous releases, which already were top-quality work!

This review was previously released elsewhere.

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