Primal - Obłęd - (6/10)
Published on August 7, 2015
Obłęd is the third full length album from the Polish one man black metal project known as Primal. Released in 2012 through a joint effort between Quid Est Veritas Productions and The End of Time Records, the album continues the somewhat schizophrenic flair of the project’s earlier output. Featuring seven tracks, one of which is a short intro, Obłęd twists and turns through varying degrees of dark and rangy black metal.
PrimalOne, the driving force behind Primal has stated that this album is “more inhuman, modern and anti-religious” than the project’s earlier material. While there are a few modern touches sprinkled throughout, notably the extremely electronic programmed drum sound and a few interesting riff choices, the majority of Obłęd is fairly traditional, as far as black metal standards go. Things mostly stick with a rather standard yet filthy barrage of blistering trem riffing and rabid growls. The songwriting is anything but standard, though, as the album is loaded with stiff transitions between sweeping trem runs and thick, pulsing power chords. These segments are decent enough on their own, but the way their thrown together is a bit off-putting.
The main problem with the album, aside from the ridiculous drum sound, is that it does not come across as a very focused effort. It’s almost as if the band just haphazardly pieced individual ideas throughout the tracks rather than crafting a song proper. While it does hit hard and fast, the entire offering isn’t overly memorable. The strongest material is when the focus is less on traditional black metal and more on tempered speed and rollicking pulses, like the second half of “…i śmierci już nie będzie”. PrimalOne has more than enough chops instrumentally, as the riffs are decent and well-played, there’s not a lot to return to for repeated listens.
If nothing else, Obłęd has piqued my interest in Primal’s sound. There is a spark of some untapped potential lurking just below the surface, so now I feel compelled to delve into the band’s more recent output. This is rangy and rather raw black metal that doesn’t sit still for very long, as it’s varied almost to the point of schizophrenia. A stronger, more aggressive drum sound and a more focused songwriting approach could really go a long way here. This is still a respectable album, it’s just I can’t stop wondering how things could have been different.