I am extremely shocked at the disappointing reviews that "Storm Before Calm" has received on this site, bearing in mind that I have heard this album be named the best of 2002 and I have read praising reviews in EVERY other 'zine I have come across that has reviewed this the fourth full length album by Ireland's very own masters of Pagan Metal PRIMORDIAL.
The only criticism I have noted in any other review is that this time around PRIMORDIAL have taken a more direct and aggressive approach which some feel has lost them a lot of the emotive qualities that they had in earlier releases (TMO Brother Thomas is in this group of people). To those people I feel I must point out that they have not lost emotion, rather they have gained even more but this time the emotion is more violently expressive and not as hidden and subtle. You just have to read the lyrics and the descriptions to believe that PRIMORDIAL mean business and are fully committed to everything they stand for and I can't help but be impressed how they, unlike many grandiose bands, manage to come across as true and powerful without becoming MANOWAR (synonym for "cheesy").
The guitar riffs blast away and are backed by an outstanding percussion performance which displays various different tricks and some nice Celtic tinged rhythms that stop this from becoming a boring blasting affair. The vocals as usual are impressive in their range and their mighty conviction as Nemtheanga ranges from a fantastic Black Metal shriek to nice passionate clean vocals and subtle whispers.
The variation in tracks here is also what is impressive as PRIMORDIAL have now chiselled themselves out their own little spot in a fading Black Metal genre. Other bands would be well advised to learn from PRIMORDIAL as to how to add more dimension to an album to make any message be it political, religious or simply mythological seem more lifelike, diverse and powerful. The first track "The Heretic Age" opens the album with an unexpected blast of music to catch you off guard. The band then progress to range from blistering Black Metal styled rhythms to Doomish sounding leads (very MY DYING BRIDE in their styling) to spoken work vocals in the final track layered over soft and subtle music.
What BATHORY invented in their Viking Metal epics influenced millions and doubtless PRIMORDIAL were one such band that have been effected by the historic patriotism of the Viking Metallers as they themselves now have adapted this and combined it with their own cultural and historical roots to create the most fantastic blend Pagan and Celtic Metal which expresses the ferocity of the ancient people and the beauty of the land perfectly. (Online June 1, 2003)