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By Rob McNees, Vinyl Aficionado
Monday, November 27, 2023 @ 9:36 AM

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How It Ends

Metal Blade Records

The cool thing about writing for KNAC.COM is that thanks to my boss, Larry P, I have the luxury to pick and choose what bands and/or albums I want to review. It's more enjoyable for me, not to mention more insightful for the review if I'm already well familiar with the band I'm reviewing. But today I'll step out of my "comfort zone" and review the Irish Pagan Metal band PRIMORDIAL. Why, one might ask, would I want to do that? Well, since my first trip to Derry, Northern Ireland in June of 2022 to witness the brilliant Frost And FIreland Festival, I not only witnessed some amazing bands but met some great people as well. One of those I met, albeit briefly, was Alan Averill. I had just witnessed his cover band (the name which escapes me now sadly) lay waste to a small club in Derry. They played cuts from BATHORY, early SODOM & SLAYER and much more. I may still have lingering neck issues from that. That's how my uninformed self found out about his main band, PRIMORDIAL. Could be why he still hasn't accepted my long-since-forgotten friend request. LoL! But seriously, a band which formed in 1992 in Dublin, Ireland and has 10 full length albums, along with various EPs, live albums and splits with other bands, you're not gonna be able to talk much about his own band since you don't know shite about them or their 30+ year career. So I figured now is the perfect time to at least attempt to rectify this situation.

I will say in my own defense that I had read where they were described as Black Metal, a term of 'music' that I avoid like the plague. I never thought that there could be a genre of music that I could loathe more than 'hair rock', but here it is. Utter noise, chaos, blasphemy. And those are the good qualities I'm told. My main hatred of BM comes from the fact that most of those bands couldn't write a real song if there was a bloody axe pointed at their corpse-painted heads. But I digress. So in the name of science, err music, onward I shall trod for you my trusted readers.

Recorded in Hellfire studios on the outskirts of Dublin, Ireland, the band started writing for How It Ends in the fall of 2022 and have come up with something that will never be construed as 'happy metal'. And there's nothing wrong with that. Life isn't always happy. In fact, more often than not it sucks moose balls. The world can and is sometimes a cold, heartless, miserable, sick, twisted and morally decayed place. And music like PRIMORDIAL makes is the dark, jackbooted antisis of the sickeningly syrupy muzak that much of the world craves.

The band themselves are: A.A. Nemtheanga on vocals, Ciaran MacUilliam on guitar, Pol MacAmlaigh on bass, and Simon O'laoghaire on the drums. And musically I can sorta see how the band could be called Black Metal, as the music itself has that disjointed song structure that most BM have, but with PRIMORDIAL it has a power & majesty that most bands of that ilk don't possess. I do think the term Pagan Metal works better for these lads, as lyrically A.A. comments on the real world, no calls to Valhalla or slaughtering of innocents here. "Where Are The Outlaws, the rebels, the dissenters"? A thinking man's BM if you will, with some Celtic overtones naturally, bringing in the touches of their Irish homeland. Musically if I were to compare anyone with PRIMORDIAL, it would be BATHORY after Quorthon changed the style to the epic Viking songs on say, Nordland I & II, or Thomas Gabriel Fischer (or Tom G. Warrior to you HELLHAMMER/CELTIC FROST aficionados) and his new band TRIPTYKON. Epic (without keyboards), mid-paced tempos but heavy in a non-riffing way. And clear vocals. All songs (except for "Traidisiunta", which means 'traditional' and is an instrumental a little over 2 minutes and change), are well over 5 minutes long. Six of the songs clock in well over 7 minutes. Quite the change of pace from the NWoBHM or Southern Rock that's been on rotation in trucks and Harleys that I possess here lately.

It's quite possible that this review hasn't helped anyone who hasn't really heard PRIMORDIAL before figure out whether they would or should give them a try. My answer would be that it's unusual for me in that they have a sound wholly unique to themselves and not something given to my normal descriptive vocabulary. And that's a good thing methinks.

I quite enjoyed the album. Now is it something that I would play everyday? No. For me it's definitely a "need to be in a certain mood" kinda release. But that's okay too. I have plenty of cloudy, crappy, extremely angry days in my life that this would and probably should be the soundtrack to. So is this How It Ends? No, I think this might just be the beginning.

And yes, you angry Puritans, there is Wax aplenty for this release. In fact, I think 7 possible color variations have been produced for different companies & countries. Seek and ye shall find.

4.0 Skulls Out Of 5.0 ☠️☠️☠️☠️

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