Pagan Metal

Primordial – Exile Amongst the Ruins Review

Primordial – Exile Amongst the Ruins Review

“When one thinks of passionate metal that bleeds their country’s heritage and history, Primordial usually ends up being the first, if not only, band that springs to mind. With a rich catalog rife with epic song structures, full-chord riffs, and the soaring vocals of A.A. Nemtheanga, the Irish quintet possess a discography to be envious of. Oftentimes battle-worn, other times sad-yet-defiant, Primordial never cease to craft works of metallic art that thrusts them head-and-shoulders above their contemporaries.” Heritage, history, heresy.

Thormesis – Trümmerfarben Review

Thormesis – Trümmerfarben Review

“Listening to Trümmerfarben, the fifth album of Germany’s pagan black metal vets Thormesis, is like going to dinner with a promising blind date seated across from an incredibly obnoxious couple. Your date is attractive on a surface level and, after a few minutes of conversation, you discover that they possess a unique personality and an emotional depth that’s not overbearing. Yet, just as you’re starting to form a connection, that damned couple across from you begins an argument, raising their voices to a deafening roar that drowns out your dialogue.” Sound of a romance fading.

Bornholm – Primaeval Pantheons Review

Bornholm – Primaeval Pantheons Review

“Metalheads saying “I’m a pagan” is, generally speaking, our chosen genre’s equivalent of wine-guzzling middle-aged single women who say they’re “not religious, but spiritual” during those book clubs where Eat, Pray, Love is read in perpetuity. It’s empty posturing made to make someone sound more profound and “enlightened” than they actually are. So-called pagan metal is generally melodic stuff with a lyrical eye to old folklore but, other than that, the definition doesn’t give us a whole lot to go on.” Only join Book of the Dead clubs.

Heimdalls Wacht – Geisterseher Review

Heimdalls Wacht – Geisterseher Review

“For black metal songwriters in search of strong conceptual themes, few subjects capture the imagination like the intricate folklore of European paganism. Not only are the old myths and traditions fascinating in their own right, the celebration of pre-Christian heritage is unequivocally akin to waving a big fat middle finger in the direction of modern religion – a practice firmly in line with the general ethos of the genre. Hailing from the town of Ahlen in western Germany, Heimdalls Wacht are one such band. Describing themselves rather extravagantly as ‘anti-Christian pagan musical art.'” Music art for the pagan soul.

Draugnim – Vulturine Review

Draugnim – Vulturine Review

“I’m not going to lie. I chose to review this promo on the basis that Draugnim sounds like Draugr – an entity which should be familiar to fellow Elder Scrolls nerds. On this basis, I predicted vaguely folkloric Scandinavian black metal. Indeed, Vulturine boasts Finnish Pagan metal similar to a popular band whose new album is also soon to drop.” Super nerds unite!

Primordial – Where Greater Men Have Fallen Review

Primordial – Where Greater Men Have Fallen Review

“I’m sure by now you all know about Angry Metal Guy’s Law of Diminishing Recordings. In short form, your favorite band is going to eventually suck because they’ll either run their ideas to the ground, or they’ll change and you’ll want to kill them for it.” This likely isn’t the intro you want attached to a review of a Primordial album, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Zgard – Contemplation Review

Zgard – Contemplation Review

“You never know when the winds of inspiration will go wafting through your soul like a favorite home-cooked meal. People will spend a good long time hammering out songs, putting hammer to anvil, cooling them off for a short time before honing them to perfection, and presenting their bared souls to the festering masses. Unless you are uber-prolific like Ukraine’s Zgard and release album after album, and I mean “four albums and one split in two years” prolific. And now, mastermind Yaromisl has unleashed Contemplation upon us.” The Ukraine may be in upheaval, but you can still count on Zgard‘s productivity.

Primordial – Redemption at the Puritan’s Hand Review

Primordial – Redemption at the Puritan’s Hand Review

I guess it was bound to happen, eventually. One of the bands I used as the pillar of consistency in my eyes, several times I might add, has kind laid an egg on this one. Primordial has been a band to look up to for a very long time, for me, having never produced what I consider to be a mediocre record, they’ve soldiered on in relative obscurity up until 2007’s utterly superb crowning glory in To the Nameless Dead. Normally when a band has a “post-great album slump,” it happens because of pressure to produce, but it has been all of four years since Primordial released a record and so I can’t even blame the label, on this one. This one just loses me in the middle (trust me, I’ll explain).