Storm Before Calm

rating icon 8.5 / 10

Track listing:

01. The Heretic's Age
02. Fallen To Ruin
03. Cast To The Pyre
04. What Sleeps Within
05. Suns First Rays
06. Sons Of The Morrigan
07. Hosting Of The Sidhe

Apart from their generally convincing and captivating sound, the great thing about PRIMORDIAL's music is the way it morphs from album to album, each one stronger than the next. There has always been a distinct PRIMORDIAL sound, a hybrid of the best elements of black metal, epic doom metal and a sort of nebulous progressive deaththrash thing, but each album previous to Storm Before Calm threw out something old and introduced something new. This, their fourth full-length, however, can in no way be called a progression. It is simply a lateral step over from 2000's Spirit The Earth Aflame. This is not to say it sucks. It is far from sucking. It just takes the approach of the previous album, works in that area for 45 minutes and manages to utterly destroy and impress the way a great metal album should.

All the PRIMORDIAL hallmarks are here: whirlwind rhythms, passionately screamed/sung vocals, hypnotic arrangements, churning black moods, triumphant melodies. Highlights come in the shape of "What Sleeps Within" and "Sons Of The Morrigan". Both are intelligent slabs of epic aggression, but they are not hung up on intellect, if you can see the difference. They still get the heart of the matter and kill. The latter track, like many of their songs, is a lengthy composition, just over eight minutes long, though it feels 3-4 minutes long. Essentially, they're that well-written. And while PRIMORDIAL don't exactly make a conscious effort to flaunt their Irish heritage, they cannot help but have a thread of swaying, folk-inspired melodies woven into their songs. "Suns First Rays" and "Hosting Of The Sidhe" (the lyrics borrowed from William Butler Yeats) give the album more depth thanks to their nods to traditional Irish melodies. Worry not, they aren't presented in the cartoon-y CRUACHAN and FINNTROLL way.

How long can a band of this high a standard continue to be a cult-level act? They never had a gimmick or happening local scene to fall back upon. They don't have an "image," leastways not a pretentious one. They don't fall squarely into the SOILWORK/IN FLAMES school nor the tired gothic metal wave. They simply don't fit in, and that's another one of their strengths. They have the songs and continue to create the albums that only godly bands are capable of. They're content with that, and you're missing out if you have never given them a listen.

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