Since release of breakthrough album To the Nameless Dead, Primordial has managed to keep the quality level consistent, even thou the 2007 release still does stand as their pivotal release. More than three years since the release of the previous album, the glorious Where Greater Men Have Fallen the Irish band is ready with their 9th album.
Entitled Exile Amongst the Ruins, the album sees the band exploring their dark metal side – a side that was always a big part of band’s music and which they dug deeper into on the previous album. The album might still be based around old Irish tales and the it still bears plenty of Celtic influences, but they are not as direct and they are fewer in-between. The focus is rather on more direct doom and metal that often draws quite a few parallels towards the likes of Candlemass and Black Sabbath.
All that makes Exile Amongst the Ruins feel like a step forward. Album also offers some experimenting, like on “To Hell or the Hangman”, which bears clear post-punk characteristic. Therese are however heavily wrapped in the overall feel of the album, which doesn’t make them stand out as a sore thumb, but rather as a subtle yet welcoming diversity.
Title track is an epic ride with a chilling break-down towards the end and a finale of grand proportions. It’s followed by “Upon Our Spiritual Deathbed”, which maintains the grand feel.
Production wise we are of fairly familiar grounds, with bit more focus on rounded big drum sound. It does take some getting used to, nonetheless during those hi-hat & kick-drum parts, but after few spins it feels more balanced and ads to the massive sound of the record. A.A. Nemtheanga’s vocal performance is perhaps his fines to date and the grand emotional interpretation of the lyrics is truly outstanding and immersive.
The albums closer “Last Call” rounds up the album extremely well, not just thematically and with overall atmosphere, but also musically because it sums up just about all the aspect of this record into one glorious piece. Clocking at over 11 minutes the song never feels too long, while couple of other tracks on the album could use a bit of trimming. This song is a roller-coaster ride with perfectly divided and measured parts, which keep you on your toes until the whole thing wraps up in a superb (album) finale.
“Last Call” is one of the fines songs the band has recorded in their over a quarter of a century long career and Exile Amongst the Ruins is one of their finest albums.