Friday, April 11, 2008

Best of 2007 - #5

5. primordial - 'to the nameless dead'
The growth of Primordial has been staggering. These Irish warriors are one of those bands that make you wonder how on earth they're going to make another album at each of their releases, such is the monumental scope of their music, and then a couple of years later they do and it all seems perfectly natural evolutionary step. Albums like 'Journey's End' or 'Spirit The Earth Aflame' were tremendous, and some of the few in metal history to actually merit the word 'epic' which is so casually thrown around these days. However, the one big leap in Primordial's career has been 'The Gathering Wilderness'. Their 2005 album is one of the finest musical creations of the 00s, a rousing and moving glorious lament that is equal parts standing-on-a-windswept-moor chest-beating inspiring as it is infinity-gazing Neurosis-like everything-metal. It collected album of the year accolades just about everywhere and it's a career-defining moment that is even more inconceivable to follow than any other of their albums. That is the huge burden hanging on 'To The Nameless Dead', and the finest compliment one could pay it is that it stands tall and proud while bearing that heavy load. As vocalist Alan Nemtheanga himself said when I interviewed him, "we might never write another 'The Coffin Ships'," in reference to the most moving track from 'The Gathering Wilderness', but that's where the great thing about 'To The Nameless Dead' resides, as it doesn't try to follow directly on the path of its illustrious predecessor. Whereas 'The Gathering Wilderness' was essentially Irish in its soul, and with a tragic, sombre lamentation environment, 'To The Nameless Dead' is more universal in its thematic appeal and more elegiac in its tone. As its title implies, these songs are a hommage to those who have fallen unsung, while bravely defending a land or a cause against a bigger, outnumbering enemy and severely negative odds. Nemtheanga has cited his travels as great sources of inspiration and that is very evident here, this album is the work of someone with a broad view both of history and of present times, because 'To The Nameless Dead' isn't just about old war tales - in fact, much of it can be taken as a metaphor for the globalized world that we are being fed in this very moment, as Alan himself has expressed in the interviews after the release of this album. This is not a gimmick, or an empty show of false integrity here - for something like this to work, it has to come straight from the heart and guts, and you don't get much more honest than this band. We're talking about a bunch of guys who recently refused a five-figure deal to use one of their songs as a ringtone, much to the bemusement of the phone company who had proposed them the deal. Alan's soulful, affecting screams, roars and spoken passages, the vastly evocative quality of the mournful and rousing music and the often chilling lyrics (that you may look away, but your children will not at the end of 'As Rome Burns'...), all of it makes this album a true experience that anyone with half a soul won't fail to be moved by. Where is the fighting man?, Alan howls during opener 'Empire Falls'. He's right here, Alan. Right here.

Primordial - 'As Rome Burns'

1 comment:

  1. O concerto de Primordial no Ragnarök foi estrondoso (espero ansiosamente pela segunda dose no Caos). A As Rome Burns ao vivo é de arrepiar a espinha, quando o Alan mete toda a gente a cantar:
    Sing Sing Sing to the Slaves
    Sing to the Slaves that Rome Burns
    (Como já disse um pouco por todo o lado - o Alan é o melhor frontman que já vi ao vivo.)

    Quanto ao álbum, não há muito a acrescentar ao texto - merecido quinto lugar.

    (olá, pessoa.)