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Primordial - "Storm Before Calm (reissue)" (CD)

Primordial - "Storm Before Calm (reissue)" CD cover image

"Storm Before Calm (reissue)" track listing:

1. The Heretic's Age (6:17)
2. Fallen to Ruin (9:29)
3. Cast to the Pyre (7:06)
4. What Sleeps Within (4:57)
5. Suns First Rays (3:12)
6. Sons of the Morrigan (8:09)
7. Hosting of the Sidhe (7:06)

Reviewed by on March 5, 2011

"For those looking to trawl the Primordial back catalog in search of more trail-blazing material, while this isn't their best release, it does hold a few tracks which are too good to pass up."

After reviewing Primordial's fantastic "All Empires Fall" DVD it's easy to see where this "Storm Before Calm" reissue fits into the band's "brick by brick" career which prizes them as one of the masters of pagan/folk/celtic/black/highly original metal. Trialled by studio issues, band tension and even cover art, "Storm Before Calm" seems in retrospect a grimly fought victory of song strength.

The key note for those looking to trawl the Primordial back catalog in search of more trail-blazing material is that while this isn't their best release, it does hold a few tracks that are too good to pass up. "Sons of the Morrigan" has a hugely powerful celtic swing to it and sees the band tap into the rolling emotional spirit that carries them so high above imitators. Similar brilliance is found in the unchallenged black metal fury of opener "Heretics Age" and the primal ache of the massive ending to "Cast To The Pyre." Also prominent is the use of ambient build ups and interludes that are sometimes effective and other times not.

The production has taken a backward step towards the band's foggy first efforts and the music overall is in the midst of shedding many of the black metal elements of the past. Nemtheanga's vocals are still firmly rooted in the raspy black metal style and only occasionally break the aggression to belt out a chorus.

In the end "Storm Before Calm" sits strangely between the cult favorite "Spirit the Earth Aflame" and the explosive release of "The Gathering Wilderness." It's an album from a band with great ideas and great songs, but with too much going on to filter that into one focused monolithic vision. However crippled, for a Primordial fan it's well worth the effort to hear the stand out tracks.

Highs: "Sons of The Morrigan" and other strong tracks

Lows: The production and album flow doesn't do the songs justice.

Bottom line: Even in darkness, the songwriting strength of Primordial shines blindingly through - get it for the gems.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)