I love a metal epic. Few things are as satisfying to listen to as a well executed heavy metal epic, and few bands pull that off as well as Primordial. The Irish Death Metal band is gifted at making their records not only brutal, but also interesting. The band’s newest studio offering, Redemption At The Puritan’s Hand is another notch in their impressive belt of accomplished albums.
Though some may scream sacrilege, I see Primordial as the next generation of Iron Maiden. With all the bands out there that sound like Maiden or attempt to rip the band off, Primordial is the only band that crafts these epic albums with the same spirit, the same attention to detail. Both bands write with the idea of creating an entire album, which is an art sadly lacking in metal these days.
Redemption At The Puritan’s Hand blasts out of the gate with “No Grave Deep Enough”, a song of such power that it almost comes off like a battle hymn. It’s astounding to me how Primordial can take the same elements of Death Metal that every other band in the genre use and come out with something completely unique. For other bands the fast drums, sweeping guitars, giant solos and so forth are a blueprint; with Primordial they’re just a launching pad. “Lain With The Wolf”, intros with a low frequency rumbling, which is accented by a dramatic guitar line. Primordial are smart enough to really let that play out before exploding into the more Death Metal aspects of the tune. It allows the tension to build so the eruption of the instruments is more of a release than just another assault of rapid fire playing.
Primordial take some risks here, especially with their more melancholy and emotional songs. “Bloodied Yet Unbowed” is very reminiscent of Iron Maiden in its half-time glory and nearly thrash overtones. The band then jumps right back into straight Death Metal with “God’s Old Snake”. Redemption At The Puritan’s Hand is all about keeping the listener off balance. From song to song, there is no set expectation for what comes next. Primordial excel at keeping you guessing, which is why their records are exciting to listen to. Usually with Death Metal, the first and last song sound very similar to what’s gone on in-between. Primordial manage to keep each song different without sacrificing a cohesive sense of a complete artistic statement.
The backbone to everything Primordial do is vocalist Alan Averill. So often the Achilles Heel of metal are the vocals, or lack there of. Most bands in the genre see vocals and lyrics as secondary, something to barked or growled over the music, usually with inane or comical lyrics. Averill instead uses his voice as another instrument and a powerful one at that. The slow movement of the song “The Mouth Of Judas” could have come off as silly but Averill’s pipes make the song powerful. I also enjoy his more educated and poetic lyrics, it proves that metal doesn’t have to be ignorant blasts of random anger.
A final step in what makes Primordial rise above the rest is how they let a song breathe. It’s not just that the songs are anywhere between six minutes to ten minutes long, but that they deserve to be that long. To many Death Metal bands, a lengthy song is a license to engage in musical masturbation. With Primordial it’s just the length the song needs to be. Each section grows out of the last and the masturbation, while still there on some level, is kept to a minimum. Primordial know how good they are and they don’t need to prove it. So much in the world of metal right now that champions mediocrity or is simply an accessory to some scene. Rather than being a “great metal record”, Redemption At The Puritan’s Hand is just a great record that happens to be metal.
CRAVEONLINE RATING 8 1/2 OUT OF 10