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Primordial - "Redemption At The Puritan's Hand" (CD)

Primordial - "Redemption At The Puritan's Hand" CD cover image

"Redemption At The Puritan's Hand" track listing:

1. No Grave Deep Enough (7:10)
2. Lain With the Wolf (8:25)
3. Bloodied Yet Unbowed (8:48)
4. God's Old Snake (6:25)
5. The Mouth of Judas (8:53)
6. The Black Hundred (6:19)
7. The Puritan's Hand (8:36)
8. Death of the Gods (9:21)

Reviewed by on April 18, 2011

"'Can you hurl a lightning bolt to smash the temple of the blind?' - I have no idea what that means but I can tell you stuff like this sounds akin to Shakespeare sung by Odin in the context of a Primordial song."

In 2007 Primordial got the first taste of real metal stardom when "To The Nameless Dead" exploded to unanimous critical praise. This was of course fairly odd for a band that had already been slogging it with great albums for 20 years, but well deserved none the less. Despite having a relatively stable epic black/pagan metal sound over the years, the question still begged - how would they follow up such a well received release?

Well if the blistering and deeply memorable opening track "No Grave Deep Enough" was to go by, the verdict would be a joyous outcry that the crushing path simply continues. Generally like those giants, it's still full of huge anthems and massive tracks that build up out of the fog and march towards you like an colossal advancing storm. However, once the frantic burst of the opener has died down it reveals "Redemption At The Puritan's Hand" to be a more refined and mid-paced album than it's two predecessors. Track three, "Bloodied Yet Unbowed," is really where Primordial hits the mark on what I'm trying to get across - it's a lumbering beast with a very dreamy main riff painted with Nemtheanga's trademark crooning and roaring. Simply put, it's one of those 11/10 tracks that if the rest of the album had followed suit would have got one hell of a glowing review. In part it does, with tracks like "The Mouth of Judas" also slowing into epic ballads.

However, this album only represents a sort of gentle half step in a new direction for Primordial. As per the past the songs are generally quite long and in some points after halfway through the album I feel some of the riffs cling to the successful formula of the previous albums, particularly in the rhythm section. While on one hand for some that will be perfect, long time Primordial fans will undoubtedly hear some previous ground being retread. While I always had trouble pinning down any similar bands to describe Primordial, this time there is a roundabout link to the sounds of "Hammerheart" era Bathory on display, particularly in the new feature of chanted background vocals.

Nemtheanga's lyrics once again display the unusual ability to tug at the heart strings without even needing the extended back story. At one point there's an utterance of "Can you hurl a lightning bolt to smash the temple of the blind?" - I have no idea what that means but I can tell you stuff like this sounds akin to Shakespeare sung by Odin in the context of a Primordial song. If there was one element on display that shouts at me to say "fuck it!" and just give this album a 5/5, it'd be Nemtheanga's vocals which are both consistent and go the extra emotional distance when the song needs a real flame.

In the end this rating is purely given from someone who has well worn their previous releases. If you've only heard one or two Primordial albums before, notch this up to 5 skulls and bury 5 men in order to hear it if you have to.

Highs: Another great release with some new classics to add to the catalog.

Lows: Long time fans will feel things are a little recycled in the albums second half.

Bottom line: Another victory for the Irish. If you haven't heard Primordial before, this album will blow your mind as much as any other.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 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)