The Irish quintet that is Primordial have carved out an epic career having formed in 1987. Playing passionate metal that oozes Irish heritage and history, their ninth album and first since 2014’s excellent, Where Greater Men Have Fallen has just been released.
Exile Amongst the Ruins has a lot to live up too, a lot to build on and while it does have Primordial’s distinct epic sound it doesn’t manage to hit the high bar set previously.
Opening track, Nail Their Tongues is early proof of this with the long and sweeping tune being directionless resulting in a forgettable and boring listen. It’s a worrying start for long-time fans but things do pick up for the faster and energetic, To Hell or the Hangman. That is immediately followed by Where Lie the Gods, a melancholy number that masterfully delivers a sombre middle.
Those two tracks are the highlights of an album that can best be described as safe. It’s not bad, it’s just hardly convincing that Primordial are really trying.
The title track comes in at 8 minutes, a standard for Primordial but like the opening track, it just meanders along with no real worthy payoff. The lack of memorable patterns and a reliance on repetitive riffing and rhythm will elect a fair few yawns & it becomes a bit of a struggle to get through the last couple of tracks.
Primordial try to bring it back around with the shorter (by their standards) and atmospheric Stolen Years but the ‘coasting’ nature of the album can’t be ignored once you get to Last Call. The epic album finishers that we’ve come to expect from the Irish metallers is not here. The track falls extremely flat. It does not lift the spirit and you don’t get goose bumps. Instead it’s akin to getting into a tepid bath after a long day. Disappointing and unsatisfying.
Primordial – Exile Amongst the Ruins Full Track Listing:
1. Nail Their Tongues
2. To Hell or the Hangman
3. Where Lie the Gods
4. Exile Among the Ruins
5. Upon Our Spiritual Deathbed
6. Stolen Years
7. Sunken Lungs
8. Last Call
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Check it out yourself below via Apple Music or via all other major streaming services.
Primordial – Exile Amongst the Ruins (Metal Blade Records)
The Final Score - 6/10