Release Date: April 26, 2011
Celtic, black metallers, Primordial return (Thank God for that) with their seventh album, Redemption at the Puritan’s Hand. After the acclaim and brilliance of their last two records, 2005’s The Gathering Wilderness and 2007′s To The Nameless Dead, the band has a lot to live up to.
Like those two album’s, Primordial has continued into the darker realms of its sound on this record. The record’s opening track, “No Grave Deep Enough” sends chill just upon reading the title. As the song begins one can almost picture a soldier riding a pale horse across an open battlefield strewn with dead and dying men. Perhaps that soldier’s name is Death. A topic that vocalist Alan Averill “Nemtheanga” states is at the heart of Redemption…
“If I had to sum this album up I would say this is the ‘death’ album. Plain and simple. There isn’t exactly a whole concept but many of the themes deal with mortality and how we deal with it. The spiritual structures we place around us to make sense of it… sex, death, procreation and god. As we get older, our relationship to our lives changes, the realization you will not live forever, the grand plan you hoped to uncover never materializes, you’re food for worms and nothing more.
We are animals, beasts and making peace with that beast might be your life’s work but more often than not he is never tamed. Once a wolf always a wolf. We all seek redemption in one way or another, from lies or from truth. Those of us who are godless or faithless often envy the man of faith for his life seems to have an extra purpose, despite the fact that logic, pragmatism, science and realism should crush any sign of faith, we still persist in lying to ourselves. Perhaps the alternative is too much to bear. So the themes of religion, mortality and death occur over and over again, along with continuing themes of alienation, martyrdom, sacrifice, violence and retribution. Occasionally, very occasionally, a chink of light breaks through.”
Listen to “No Grave Deep Enough”:
The album rings in at just over one hour, and throughout the 8 tracks (no song comes in at under 6 minutes), Nemtheanga’s voice cries out with plaintive angst and fury.
“God’s Old Snake” takes off with rapid fire riffing, and dynamic drum work from the sticks of Simon O’Laoghaire. It’s good to hear that the band worked out its issues and Simon is back in the fold.
“The Mouth of Judas” begins as a folky, Celtic dirge, which builds to a raging tempest before dying out. The calm before the storm that is, “The Black Hundred”, an intense and angry sonic war.
This feeling carries over into “The Puritan’s Hand”; a dense and crushing number that seeks to eviscerate the soul.
The album closes out with the longest track, “Death of the Gods” which reaches into the listener’s marrow. To truly appreciate the beauty in death’s ugliness you must listen to the album’s lyrics and understand the conviction and passion Primordial conveys on this record.
This is a massive album and arguably the band’s best to date. Metal’s pagan iconclasts have created another auspicious aural triumph. Redemption at the Puritan’s Hand is going to be among the best that 2011 offers. Mark my words! \m/