Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Primigenium - Faith Through Anguish
BlackSeed Productions, 2011
Genre: Black Metal

1. Some Meters Below Ground...
2. Third Floor
3. Faith Through Anguish I: Abysses
4. Faith Through Anguish II: The Grand Deed
5. New Soul Shepherds
6. Faith Through Anguish III: Dead Remembrances Generator

After hearing "Intolerance" I was looking more forward to the next Primigenium release... who knew I would wait about nine years for that to happen!  When I saw the CD show up at a distro all of a sudden, I purchased it immediately.  I imagine Smaug took a serious break from writing anything for a while rather than this being composed over the nine years.  I say this mainly because the songs sound very similar and over that much span of time, usually writing tends to vary quite a bit.

I wasn't sure what to expect after such a long hiatus.  Well, I would not say this continues where "Intolerance" left off.  This is more of a throw back to earlier sounding Black Metal.  The music is all very good and well produced, but it is somewhat generic.  Some of it is downright wonderful though.  In "Faith Through Anguish I: Abysses" there is this rhythm played over and over and a lead guitar kicks in and it's just wonderful.  Sort of reminds of the things ColdWorld will do on a lot of songs.  These songs are a lot less frantic and a-tonal than "Intolerance".  In fact the guitar work has a good amount of melody infused in it and this is certainly not a raging Black Metal album where things are blasted through at top speed. The drumming is typically mid-paced to match the somber mood of the guitar lines.

I feel the vocals have been shifted quite a bit and I feel the vocal presentation on this album is actually far better than on "Intolerance" and previous releases.  I actually think this is the best vocal performance he's ever done.  Norax from Lux Divina does some guest appearances on this album, but I am not sure in what songs, because the booklet does not say.  There are seem eerie howls of sort of clean vocals throughout this album and I am not sure if this is Smaug or Norax.  It it's Smaug, this was well done indeed!  He arranged things in a manner where it was just enough to never get annoying.  Too many of these howls would take away from the music, but he does just enough with it.

The booklet is fairly minimal.  It features lyrics in both Spanish and English.  It has a distorted image of Smaug, so you can't really see his face very well.  Written on the picture is "Black Metal musical art is a nostalgia of all that does not exist."  I suppose this fits with the theme of the lyrics since there seems to be a lot of Nihilism thrown around.  It's printed on slightly textured paper, so it has a weird feel, but really fits with the pictures throughout the booklet.

In the end I'm not sure if this is something people will need to rush out and hear.  It is certainly an enjoyable listen, but I feel like Primigenium will get dwarfed by other bands out there.  Despite the fact he's offering nothing new, he's offering fairly high quality Black Metal.  In the end it is definitely worth hearing and I think this is one of the best efforts from Primigenium.

Primigenium - Intolerance
Drakkar Productions, 2002
Genre: Black Metal

1. Pure Black Fucking Metal
2. For I am Death
3. Intolerance
4. There Where We Will Have to Rise Again
5. Essential Chaos
6. Satanic Truth
7. Demoniac (Blasphemy Cover)
8. Theatre of Souls

Wow.  I bet, based on the prior two reviews I did for this band you would never expect me to say this is a must have album.  In “All Your Tears Will Be Ours” I pointed out that they seemed to be lost and trying to find their place, well I think they found it with “Intolerance.”  Talk about turning it all around on this release!

They wasted no time on “Intolerance,” for those who prescribe to the Black Metal epithet of no keyboards, no melody, only hate, then this is totally up your alley.  They had no keyboard intro on this, but launched right into the raging Black Metal with “Pure Black Fucking Metal.”  Despite this songs stupid title, in my opinion, it really did the introductory job for the listener.  It essentially gives the overall impression that they are a no frills band and aren’t just trying to “sell” you something that is prettied up.  In a conversation I had with Typhus, whom recommended the album to me, described it as one of the most a-tonal albums he had ever heard.  I think this is a fairly accurate portrayal of this release.  It’s got a very mesmerizing quality to it, which is something I can really latch onto for some reason.  In “For I am Death” they go into this riff sequence that is taken right out of the pages of Abigor!

They took a lot less time between releases this time around, yet they put together something so much more.  “Intolerance” is more hateful, harsher, and just overall superior to all prior Primigenium albums.  This is definitely a mentionable album for this year!  Now that’s saying a lot considering all the killer albums it has to stack up against in 2001.  One major difference, for me, on this release when compared to the others is that I actually want to listen to “Intolerance.”  That’s how I know it’s a solid release, whereas the prior ones I would listen to them, but I couldn’t ever see myself returning to them frequently with fond remembrance.  I might listen to them again if I ever forgot what they sounded like, but over the years they would just fade away.  Not “Intolerance” though… this one will likely stick with me.

Lyrically they seem to have stepped up a bit more.  I get an underlying philosophical feel rather than just the blasé “I hate Jesus” vibe.  I still don’t know entirely what they are talking about, but I can tell they are much deeper than “Art of War.”  I think a lot of my misunderstanding stems from the language barrier.  What they do is write the lyrics in Spanish then have someone else translate them into English, I believe they sing them in English as well.  Anyway, what I can gather is they deal much more with, what appears to me, nihilism and general misanthropy.  Lyrical topics I tend to favor a bit more these days myself.

Ultimately in the end this should find its way into anyone’s CD collection especially if they are major advocates of Black Metal.  It has a somewhat droning experience, but I find that a bit more endearing, especially the closing track “Theatre of Souls.”  That song could fit in with Endstille’s “Monotonus” sequence a little bit at times.  Either way Primigenium have turned over a new leaf and I am now eagerly awaiting their next release.  Who knows how long it could take, but it will hopefully be worth the wait.

Primigenium - All Your Tears Will Be Ours
End All Life Productions, 2000
Genre: Black/Death Metal

1. Art of War (II Warning)
2. Prelude to Suicide
3. Conflict Give Me the Wings

I had almost forgotten about this band by the time this came out.  I honestly thought they had broken up, then out of nowhere this gets released.  They got a lot of press for “Art of War” but this mini CD got nothing for the most part.  They changed a lot on this release and it leaves me wondering if this is what we can expect from forthcoming Primigenium material.  This is more of a Black/Death Metal hybrid.

The album opens with a keyboard intro, which I assume will be the customary thing for Primigenium, this time it’s much better than “Art of War.”  It’s actually darker and has a major foreboding feel to it.  I think this is much more appropriate for an extreme metal album to say the least.  Then it launches into “Prelude to Suicide” and we are left in a sort of shock at the drastic change.  This song is more of a Death Metal song and they pull it off fairly well, but I still don’t like the vocals all that much.  However, they remind me a lot of early Carcass vocally.  Musically it’s not so much like that, but more of an old school Death Metal, like late 80’s/early 90’s style, mixed with some varying Black Metal passages.  “Conflict Give Me the Wings” is much more of a Black Metal song.  It’s got a very different production feel to it than “Art of War” but the riffing is very similar.  However, they keep the strange Carcass-like Death Metal vocals for parts of this song.  They also revert back to the Black Metal vocals used on “Art of War,” which fit a little bit better than the Death Metal ones for this track.

Is this Primigenium turning over a new leaf?  Maybe?  It’s certainly an interesting thing to hear.  Usually I like when a Black Metal band switches to Death Metal, because they usually do it pretty well, however, Primigenium still haven’t put it all together well enough.  I’m left with somewhat mixed feelings on it.  It’s not bad by any means, but it’s not astonishing either.  I think “Conflict Give Me the Wings” has a better feel over all, so I think that’s more their comfort zone.  It’s interesting to hear them experimenting with things though, even though that last track is a bit more melodic than usual for them.

Either way, how does this stack up in the end?  Mixed.  It has its strong improvements against “Art of War”, such as I like the way the music was produced a little more, the guitars are much heavier, for example.  But at the same time “Art of War” was better in the overall.  So you get a mixed review for a mixed release.  I think they are still looking for their place in the metal world.  I think this is where “All Your Tears Will Be Ours” comes into play, this is their release to say that they are still around, but are currently searching for themselves, I think.  At least that’s the impression I’m walking away with.  Hey, at least they didn’t screw up the track listing on this one, which would’ve been really bad on a three track release.

Primigenium - Art of War
Full Moon Productions, 1997
Genre: Black Metal

1. Ridden Into Battle (Prologue)
2. Embrace Me Darkness
3. Black Sword of Vengeance
4. Shall the Forest Open for Us
5. Anachronism
6. ...And Jesus Wept?
7. Pact of Solitude
8. Enemy
9. Dragon's Tears (Epilogue)

Probably one of the more well known Black Metal acts out of Spain, thanks to Full Moon Productions no doubt.  During this time frame Full Moon had quite a reputation for releasing extremely high quality material.  “Art of War” overall is no exception.  Primigenium put this out just before this style could get extremely generic by the later 1990’s.  Granted this vision of Black Metal was starting to stagnate quite a bit, but I think Primigenium hit this release at just the right time to actually gain some notice.

The first impression when you put this on is the hope that this isn’t too fruity.  The opening keyboard instrumental doesn’t give off the greatest vibe since it feels like you’re listening to some sort of video game music, not the greatest precedent for Black Metal.  But if you can muster through it and make it to “Embrace Me Darkness,” then you do get to hear some quality Black Metal.  Despite the fact that the album opens with keyboards there are no keyboards accompanying the Black Metal, which could be somewhat misleading as a first impression.  Primigenium are harsh Black Metal pretty much through and through.  However, there is one part in “Embrace Me Darkness” where the music is more upbeat and I genuinely dislike this part of the song.  Luckily nothing like that comes up again for the rest of the album.  You could probably compare this to really early Marduk or Gorgoroth, though Primigenium’s sound is much thinner in my opinion.  It keeps a fairly raging feel to it until you get to “Pact of Solitude,” which even lyrically, is one of those “romantic” types of Black Metal songs with a slightly more melodic tones to it and a slower pace.  I really wasn’t a big fan of that song as it seemed to really kill the raging feel of the album.  I’m really not a big fan of the trend that popped up here and there to write the out of place Black Metal “love song” about the glory of the night and all that silly crap.  For the most part the musicianship is pretty solid for a two man project.  The majority of the music is very well written and keeps the listener involved.  I’m not big on the vocals, though.  He’s not a horrible vocalist, but I’ve just heard much better out there and maybe something more would make it even more enjoyable.

Lyrically this album is pretty generic.  “Art of War” is pretty self explanatory and the lyrics are nothing different.  Probably similar to the likes of Emperor in that sense, but I thought Emperor’s lyrics were better.  You know, the usual war (more medieval in base), hating Christ, at least until you get to “Pact of Solitude,” the romantic Black Metal song complete with lyrics.  Overall nothing to get excited about in the lyrics department, even by 1996 we’ve seen it all before.  Maybe with an album title like “Art of War” they should’ve had some more philosophical outlooks relating to Sun Tzu (who wrote The Art of War, for those who are uncultured).  Oh well though, I guess I expect too much from people sometimes.

One thing that really ticked me off about this album is the track listings are screwed up.  It was Immortal’s “Battles in the North” all over again.  I checked the track listing against the lyrics, so what’s listed up above, I assure you, is the correct track listing.  I hate it when that gets messed up and you have to hunt around for which track goes where.  At least, for this one, the tracks follow the lyrics in the booklet really.  You just have to find where to put the instrumental.  So it wasn’t really as bad as “Battles in the North,” but it was still pretty annoying.

Overall, this was a fairly decent release.  It wasn’t an exceptional release, nor was it ever a must buy, but it was good enough to listen to and you wouldn’t regret owning it.  It also pointed out that there is Black Metal in Spain.  Honestly, when I was in High School and I saw this band come out, I didn’t think there was any in Spain.  However, as with any Full Moon Productions releases at this time, it really put them on the map.

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