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Where animals lay down to die... - 100%

Sargon_The_Terrible, October 16th, 2007

Primordial have been together for almost 20 years now, slowly evolving from the rather generic "woodsy" Black Metal of their early days into the incredible beast they have become. Their last two albums Spirit The Earth Aflame and Storm Before Calm got a lot of press and attention, finally resulting in their being picked up by Metal Blade so they could finally get wider release. As always, a bigger label signing is cause for some concern, but Primordial have not taken a misstep, and their fifth album, The Gathering Wilderness, is nothing short of a masterwork.

I say Primordial are the true heirs to Quorthon's legacy, and I defy anyone to hear this album and tell me different. The Gathering Wilderness is hammerforged with huge, epic riffs that flow one into the other and carry the songs across the land like tidal waves. The sound is huge, fully as powerful as Bathory in their best works. Of all modern bands, perhaps only Graveland comes close to the force wielded here. There are no folk instruments as such, only a powerful atmosphere of heritage and pride, and the enormous emotion poured out by vocalist Alan Nemtheanga. He's not technically a very good singer, but he's not really 'singing' per se, or yelling or screaming. I can't really categorize his vocals at all. He just pours out so much raw, bleeding emotion that at times it's almost too much. Standouts are hard to pick out, as the album is a unified whole – indivisible. But the title track is just immense in every sense of the word, and "The Coffin Ships" kills me every time – Gods that Riff! If that shit doesn't own you then nothing ever will.

This is just a monster of an album, and I can only shiver at the thought that Primordial only just hit their stride with Spirit, and are still coming into their own. This is not an album you love, this is an album you worship. Uncompromising. Brilliant. Flawless.

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