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Primordial - "Spirit The Earth Aflame" (CD)

Primordial - "Spirit The Earth Aflame" CD cover image

"Spirit The Earth Aflame" track listing:

1. Spirit the Earth Aflame (2:23)
2. Gods To The Godless (7:48)
3. The Soul Must Sleep (6:38)
4. The Burnign Season (8:42)
5. Glorious Dawn (7:23)
6. The Cruel Sea (4:03)
7. Children of the Harvest (8:30)
8. To Enter Pagan (Live) (5:42)

1. The Darkest Flame (6:23)
2. In Graciousness (Live) (3:42)
3. The Black Art (Live) (5:01)
4. Total Destruction (Live / Bathory Cover) (3:37)
5. Inside the Eye of Algond (Live / Rotting Christ Cover) (4:07)
6. To Enter Pagan (5:24)
7. The Calling (4:55)
8. Among the Lazarae (7:53)
9. Soul Must Sleep (Live) (5:31)

Reviewed by on June 24, 2010

"'Spirit The Earth Aflame' represents the most solid material the band has put out standing as a triumvirate with their two latest releases."

After two full lengths and more than a decade of metal Irish metal legends Primordial hit the decade full force with a sound they could call their own. The result was 2000's "Spirit the Earth Aflame," an album that is now available again via a Metal Blade reissue, chock-a-block full of grim folk goodness.

This release will appeal to Primordial fans who have picked up Primordial's must hear releases "The Gathering Wilderness" and "To the Nameless Dead," which should take priority for any newcomers. If you haven't yet heard those, grand theft auto your way to the nearest record store and pick them up. That said, despite the praise heaped on later releases there are some heathen classics on display here too. "Gods To The Godless" is a set-list staple and "The Burning Season" and "The Soul Must Sleep" should be mandatory for fans. The production on "Spirit The Earth Aflame" is on it's way towards the crushing power heard on "The Gathering Wilderness" and easily on par with any of their competitors at the time.

Listeners of the band's newer material will note a slightly stronger black metal influence in most tracks and the riffs are a more aligned with their black metal ilk - Moonsorrow, Windir, Wyrd, etc. The band's origins perhaps are mostly evoked through vocalist Nemtheanga who utilizes the his black metal rasps a good deal of the time. Fear not however, as his voice also erupts into searing clean vocals throughout. Overall, his touch is much more vicious on this release. That said however, there aren't many blast beat assaults and the epic folk metal riffs, psychedelic drumming and flowing songwriting are all recognizably Primordial.

Additionally, one of the best thing about this reissue is that the bonus material is thorough and high quality (in terms of songs, not so much production). There are covers of Bathory and Rotting Christ, as well as songs from previous EPs, splits, demos and several live tracks. Here in some of the earlier tunes like "To Enter Pagan," the black metal roots shine through and it's a lot easier for fans to pick up this reissue than hunt for demos or EPs.

One question remains for such a confused fan - should I get this release over "Storm Before Calm" or "A Journey's End"? To which the answer is yes. "Spirit The Earth Aflame" represents the most solid material the band has put out standing as a triumvirate with their two latest releases named earlier.

Highs: Classic Primordial tracks with no weak points to be found.

Lows: Is forever in the shadow of "The Gathering Wilderness."

Bottom line: The last of the three Primordial albums all fans should own.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls

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)