'Where Greater Men Have Fallen', Primordial's follow-up to 2011's 'Redemption at the Puritan's Hand', opens in explosive metal fashion with a real headbanger of a title track. A few bars of furiously pounded toms and palm-muted riffage are soon overlaid with a melodically melancholic lead guitar, which neatly builds the anticipation before giving way to mid-tempo, snare led, guitar-layered, Primordial bliss, where the opening motif is developed in the most exhilarating of ways. Shortly after, Alan "Nemtheanga" Averill's impassioned vocals are introduced and the song's affective intensities become even more intense. In short, Primordial are back with a big emotional whack in their inimitable style and idiomatic metal mode.
It's as explosive a start to an album as their 'Empire Falls' opener on 2007's 'To the Nameless Dead'. And, from this sonically eruptive beginning, the album fulfils the emotionally intense journey it promises from the off. However, it's a journey that's predominantly taken within the context of down-tempo compositions, with the notable exception of 'The Seed of Tyrants' which is also, perhaps, one of the band's heaviest songs in some years (that all depends on precisely how you define "heavy", of course), and brings to mind the controlled cacophony of 'Storm Before Calm' track 'The Heretics Age'.
An engaging consistency of compositional command throughout, 'Where Greater Men Have Fallen' is also a refreshingly organic sounding beast in its production. There's no clinically clean, emotionally barren, over-produced, Pro Tools processed nonsense here. This is a band performing from their very emotional core, and it's been captured as such with a sound that's a thoroughly absorbing one. When cranking up the volume through your headphones, it's as easy to become immersed in each song's emotive essence as it is exhilarated by their stirring intensities.
Whatever your bag might be within what's become an unfortunately fragmented metal genre in the twenty first century, and one that's all too often characterised by regurgitated, self-imitative, sub-generic stagnancy, it's reassuring and reaffirming that bands like Primordial are still making music with so much ardent integrity. And with so much genuine emotional depth too. Metal, and music in general, doesn't get more affectively profound than this. Thank fuck for Primordial.
WHERE GREATER MEN HAVE FALLEN
Review by Mark Holmes
24th Nov 2014
1) Where Greater Men Have Fallen
2) Babel's Tower
3) Come the Flood
4) The Seed of Tyrants
5) Ghosts of the Charnel House
6) The Alchemist's Head
7) Born to Night
8) Wield Lightning to Split the Sun
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"Whatever your bag might be within what's become an unfortunately fragmented metal genre in the twenty first century, and one that's all too often characterised by regurgitated, self-imitative, sub-generic stagnancy, it's reassuring and reaffirming that bands like Primordial are still making music with so much ardent integrity."