We reviewers sometimes sound like a broken record, pointing out that this band sounds like that one, unoriginal, no own character blah, blah, blah. Ireland's PRIMORDIAL never had to put up with any of these accusations for any of their albums. The band around Alan Averill "Nemtheanga" has come far from the Folk Black Metal roots of their 1995 debut "Imrama" (don't get me wrong, it was a brilliant album even back then), continuously evolving their music without ever breaking the band's sound.
"The Gathering Wilderness" in 2005 had garnered almost unanimous acclaim, thus setting the bar very high for "To The Nameless Dead" and they have managed the seemingly unattainable - they topped it. The biggest and most obvious step forward is the production, which is big, clear, powerful, but still organic, perfectly fitting the intense compositions that PRIMORDIAL have forged this time around, which are completed by the loose concept of the album's title. "To The Nameless Dead" is dedicated to the people, who died without receiving any recognition, in burning cities, falling empires and at the hand of traitor's, drawing a bleak picture of humanity and being the perfect medium to transport the melancholy and heartblood of the Irish.
The music on this album is defiant and proud, standing in the strong winds sweeping in from the Atlantic, battering the western coast, while never forgetting the time they are living in. A bitter melancholy is omnipresent, depicting the scenes described in the lyrics, while the sheer size of the sound ensures that you will feel the same while listening to it and as much as you would want to try, you will not be able to tear yourself away from it! While the whole band forms a very tight unit, Nemtheanga steals the show with an absolute world-class performance, if needed he unleashes his fierce Black Metal croak, complementing his expressive and emotional deep voice, which you will be able to recognize among hundreds, the songs themselves already would place PRIMORDIAL's sixth very high, but his vocals just push it over the edge into the realm of the truly extraordinary.
To single out songs is unfair towards the rest, because the overall quality of each and every single song is almost frightening, take the grandeur of "Empire Falls", the powerful chants of "As Rome Burns", the fast power of "Traitor's Gate" or the majesty of "No Nation On This Earth", each of them monuments in themselves... Who has never heard PRIMORDIAL before, they mix powerful Metal, melancholy and wrath, innovative riffs, thunderous drumming, brilliant, varied vocals, expression and emotion and more into one of the best albums of the past years, it is very rare that I hand out the perfect score (prior to this 21 times in 2456 reviews, making it 0.85%), but "To The Nameless Dead" deserves it, point blank!
(Online January 14, 2008)