PRIMORDIAL — To the Nameless Dead (review)

PRIMORDIAL — To the Nameless Dead album cover Album · 2007 · Folk Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Phonebook Eater

“To The Nameless Dead”’s violent finesse makes it one of the key albums of Folk Metal.

Primordial, after the release of the acclaimed “The Gathering Wilderness”, took a step forward with their following release, “To The Nameless Dead”, thus far the best album that band has put out. Easily definable as a landmark album for Folk Metal, and puts Primordial among the highest names of such genre, along with Moonsorrow, Agalloch, Finntroll, Eluveite, Wuthering Heights, Nokturnal Mortum, and many others.

Like “the Gathering Wilderness”, “To The Nameless Dead finds it’s folkish elements not really in acoustic moments, which is a very common stereotype for Folk Metal, but in the rhythms, the dark, evoking melodies, the Ancient Roman flavored lyrics, the overall visceral and at times bleak atmosphere. However, this last album is more open to explicit Folklore, especially one song in particular, “Heathen Tribes”. The harshness of the guitars have not settled down, but have even more increased in intensity, the vocals by frontman Nemtheanga have got even more powerful and intense, yet always unique, the drums more fat but still great to hear. The atmosphere, like mentioned, is more effective and urgent than the previous albums: the solemnity of these galloping tracks is of an elegance (from the metal point of view, clearly)that rarely I hear in an album, is perfectly combined with a most visceral, crude, and rebellious atmosphere: this mix of almost opposing types of sound gives this album of a sort of violent finesse.

The reason of such a focused and clear atmosphere is also because of the lyrical content, which for the most part consists of Ancient Roman history, Roman Paganism, invasions. There is a more human approach on this one compared to the somewhat feral “The Gathering Wilderness”. However, nature is still of a great presence in this album, lyrically, but it isn’t hard to feel it in the air as well.

The album is the most solid Primordial has ever released, eight mostly long songs starting with“Empire Falls”, the opening track, no doubt one of the very best tracks of the band, with it’s amazing riff, strong vocals, great flow and amazing heaviness, while the surprising “Heathen Tribes” is a almost completely acoustic song that reminds much of Irish Folk music because of it’s andante rhythm. “As Rome Burns”’s nine minutes are another standout point, especially the second half of the song, where you find Primordial that have never been so intense. The Black Metal influences are most noticeable in the finale “No Nation Of This Earth”, which also has a mood and riffs that remind of such dark music.

There is really not one song I can talk badly about, a terrific album that rightfully deserves a place in the great metal efforts of the new millennium. An instant classic.
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