Pumpehuset, Copenhagen - 2022

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

The Heathen Crusade has definitely had some bumps along the road, and there have been several line-up changes along the way (Moonsorrow -> Naglfar -> Swallow The Sun), but at the heart of it, one band has stood strong against all odds, and that band is Primordial!
With Exile Amongst The Ruins dropping in 2018, as well as the previous Heathen Crusade taking place there, it was about time the show got on the road again, and finally in 2022 on the road it went.

“Good evening, how are you doing? How is this journey into liberty going?”
- A.A. Nemtheanga (vocals)

Rome and Swallow The Sun had paved the way quite beautifully, the former even with a short guest appearance from Alan Averill himself, but now it was time for the main event of the evening. The room was buzzing, and when the lights went down, Black Horse On The Wind came on as an intro tune. This was a nice, atmospheric way to begin, and yet the band quickly changed the pace up, as they followed the intro by opening with Gods To The Godless, from the 22 years old Spirit The Earth Aflame album.
There was already a good energy emanating from the band, and Simon O’Laoghaire even stood up and played the drums for a spell (something that was repeated repeatedly through the rest of the evening). The rest of the band counted A.A. Nemtheanga (obviously), and Pól MacAmlaigh (bass) as well as Micheál O’Floinn (guitar). Original member Ciáran MacUiliam was however missing, and had for the tour been replaced by a man called Sean (either I didn’t catch the surname, or they didn’t say); as far as I could tell though, MacUiliam’s absence was only temporary. That’s not to say that Sean didn’t fill the role, because he most certainly did, and was as integrated in the band and played the songs like it was nobody’s business.

With that said, the first song didn’t quite reach the Primordial standard that we’ve become accustomed to, when it comes to performance. It was definitely good, but it lacked that special something that makes Primordial stick out from other bands. A big part of this is Nemtheanga’s theatrical persona, and this is something that came very much alive in the second song of the night, the absolutely amazing Nail Their Tongues from the latest release.
From here on out, it was a full go on everything we know and love about this band. There was a clear intent and focus, and the atmosphere was sparkling.
Well, ok, the focus may have slipped for a second, as the band accidentally switched the order of To Hell Or The Hangman and As Rome Burns, but as both songs were played, what does it matter? Nemtheanga remarked on it between the two, laughed it off, and then we were past it without a second thought.

“Do you choose liberty? (small response) Or death? (a little louder) I’ll try again. Liberty?! (a good response) Or death?! (finally satisfying) I can guarantee the second one. The first is up to everyone of you!”
- Nemtheanga (vocals)

We may have loved what the band was giving us, but we also had to work for them at times. Not that anyone was against this of course, which was made abundantly clear by the loud response as we were asked to take the usual sing along part in As Rome Burns. We also got to take a part of the chorus in Where Greater Men have Fallen by ourselves, which again was a lot of fun, and when Nemtheanga dedicated The Coffin Ships to Ukraine and the people suffering there, he got a highly vocal support in this endeavour.
In general, the crowd was having a lot of fun, and it was a hot and wild night at Pumpehuset, even though the attendance left something to be desired. Everyone present made up for the lacking floor fillers however; it was a case of quality over quantity.

“Copenhagen, you never disappoint me! You fucking rule!”
- Nemtheanga (vocals)

While Rome had been a very pleasant surprise for us, and the addition of Swallow The Sun had been the highlight of the news regarding the Heathen Crusade tour, there was no doubt that it was Primordial that came out on top here. It is quickly becoming the rule that Primordial blows us away every time we see them, and tonight was no exception.
All we can ask for now, is that their next tour doesn’t run into as many hindrances as this one did. We want them back, the quicker the better.


Dark Horse On The Wind
Gods To The Godless
Nail Their Tongues
Where Greater Men Have Fallen
The Mouth Of Judas
Sons Of The Morrigan
To Hell Or The Hangman
As Rome Burns
Wield Lightning To Split The Sun
The Coffin Ships
No Grave Deep Enough
Empire Falls

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