PRIMORDIAL — The Gathering Wilderness (review)

PRIMORDIAL — The Gathering Wilderness album cover Album · 2005 · Folk Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
Phonebook Eater
7/10

“The Gathering Wilderness” sounds like a dark evocation of nature itself.

Primordial have been a huge success among the metal community, and praised as one of the best metal bands out there, as well as one of the best Folk Metal bands ever. One of the reasons for this success is “The Gathering Wilderness”, the band’s fifth studio album and the first that receives a lot of attention.

This Irish band has a pretty unique sound, and at the same time, it doesn’t sound like anything new: pure metal, with archaic sounding production and plenty of clean guitar atmospheres that go along with crunchy and heavy riffs, and harsh, yet extremely dramatic vocals, which sometimes are also shrieking. Many of these songs have unusual rhythms for metal, reminding a bit of traditional Irish music, a clear influence for this band. Folk Metal thus is the easiest label for this kind of music, but, looking also at the lyrics, there is a lot of references to paganism, nature, Gods, and Irish history, this way going also towards a Pagan Black Metal direction. These song structures are pretty stretched, going to the nine minute mark at the maximum. It’s a pretty long, but extremely solid release, featuring only seven tracks, that have many elements in common and remind one another, without it being a negative trait, as a matter of fact, it’s a characteristic that makes this album even more solid.

“The Gathering Wilderness” is a good mix of harshness and mellowness, but what makes this sound special is the way the musicians executed it and the overall sound if it: it has an evocative, yet savage production, like I said, thus it truly sounds like an evocation of nature itself, and I’m sure that is exactly what Nemtheanga and his fellow mates were aiming at, due also to their love for archaisms.

“The Golden Spiral”, the eight minute opener, gives you exactly what you’ll get for the remaining fifty minutes, but the title track adds even more spice to the course, as one of the greatest songs of the band, where the lyrics and the vocals are a standout. Hard not to be terrified when Nemtheanga sings “my Faith is not welcome here”. The remaining songs are really good as well, especially the extremely dramatic “The Coffin Ships”, and the final track “Cities Carved In Stone” which gives an epic conclusion to this album.

“The Gathering Wilderness” that will be for some a classic, and it a way, it is a standout for recent Celtic Metal. It’s intense drama and melancholy will eventually lead to the band’s masterpiece, “To The Nameless Dead”, which actually owes so much to “The Gathering Wilderness”.
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