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Nothing touches this!! - 99%

krozza, February 25th, 2005

In a time of countless repetition and lack of originality, there are always those new releases that come our way (usually at the most opportune moment) that justify our continual love for this style of music. Like all genres, Metal isn’t infallible, there’s a surfeit of mediocre, middle tier bands that we tolerate, all in the hope of stumbling across a piece of genius. Ireland’s Primordial isn’t new to me – I knew this was coming – however, if you wanted any more evidence of how good this music can be - you want genius? - Then this is it folks. It’s only early days, but in 2005 is the best thing I have heard. It’ll take something extraordinary to change that.

After some 13 years in the game, Primordial have been through some incredible trying times to get to this point. Having released five full-length albums prior to this (including the classic ‘Journey’s End’ of 1998), the under current of label hassles and a lack of touring has always hindered Primordial’s progress. Any lesser band would have thrown the towel in long ago. Finally, with the backing Metal Blade, it appears that Primordial are about to garner some long over due recognition. I’ve always loved this band (it’s been a decade since I first bought their 1995 debut ‘Imrama’), but for a lot of people, ‘TGW’ is their first initiation to the band. That’s a damn pity. Hopefully this new one will pique some interest in the bands back catalogue. Believe me, it is just as strong.

Primordial are absolute masters at writing dark, deeply moving pieces of heavy music. TGW is one of those albums that simply drip with passion and emotional creativity. There is a mood and feeling on this album that cannot be touch. It is a mood drenched in sorrowful, painful melancholy. But, my god, could it be any more powerful? I think not. Every word uttered, every note written is delivered with the utmost honesty and integrity. If you’ve ever wondered whether bands actually believe in everything they sing and write about, then never question Primordial – these guys mean every syllable.

The music on this disc simply floors me from beginning to end. Like most of their previous material, it leaves me speechless (again). With a dramatic, bottom heavy production from Billy Anderson (Sleep, Neurosis, Melvins) ‘TGW’ swells and builds to magnificent crescendo’s time and again. It is truly an epic masterpiece.

Primordial are definitely the sum of its parts, yet for me it has always been the presence of vocalist Alan.A.Nemtheanga that makes Primordial the dark, emotive force that it is. Is there a more forlorn and expressive vocalist in the game? A.A’s unique tone and impassioned delivery is soul-stirring stuff indeed. Seriously, the pain and rage that Alan captures will but shivers up your spine. I’m positive that Alan was moved to tears during his vocal recordings such is the belief in his subject matter.

‘TGW’ is easily one of Primordial’s more intense albums. It’s probably not as aggressive as 2002’s ‘Storm Before Calm’ but with A.A’s incredibly captivating vocal performance, the impact of its compositions is just as great. I could rave on for aeons about how brilliant this album is, but I think you get the picture. Nothing touches this at the moment. I’ve listened to it repeatedly for the past two weeks and still, it fails to tire me. If there is to be a more thoroughly captivating metal album written this year, I cannot wait to hear it. Beg, borrow or steal it, whatever the case, ‘The Gathering Wilderness’ is mandatory!!