Rockharz - 2012

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Primordial is a quite new acquaintance of ours, even though the band began as far back as 1991.
We were made aware of this special Irish black metal band only last year though, through a friend who thought their style would suit us. The first thing we heard was Empire Falls from the To The Nameless Dead album, and we instantly liked it. Now Rockharz offered us at chance at seeing the band live, and we weren’t about to pass that up...

Even though I had no idea what to expect from this quintet, I was looking forward to the show. I had been warned beforehand that this was a band I would either love or hate, so at least I was assured of them bringing something personal to the table. Whether or not it was any good I would soon find out...

“Are you with us?! We are with you!”
- Alan ‘Nemtheanga’ Averill (vocals)

The entrance and beginning of the show left something to be desired I must admit, but this was only because the general sound was set much too low when Primordial began playing, and thus nothing the band could do very much about...
What they may have lacked in volume though, the band certainly made up for in stage presence! Especially so Averill, who radiated a confidence which could almost be touched as he stood tall at the centre of the stage. His gestures were large and theatrical, weaving as much of a story in themselves as the music and lyrics were. Averill was also the only one in the band wearing corpsepaint, making him stand out even more by really focusing the attention on his person.
The rest of the band members were a bit more anonymous in their approach, but no less engaged in the show; there was still a lot of headbanging, and especially guitarist Ciáran MacUiliam could often be seen cracking a big smile while making eye-contact with various members of the crowd.

To cement even further that this was no depressive, anti-social band we had before us, Averill was often using the time between songs to speak to the gathering before him and his mates, sometimes making idle chit-chat, but more often announcing or explaining the band’s songs; for instance, we were informed that Bloodied Yet Unbowed from the latest album, Redemption At The Puritan’s Hand from 2011, was made as a 20 years anniversary song about the band, and later we got to know a bit about Irish history as The Coffin Ships was about to begin.
All this worked well with the mid-sized crowd that had come out to watch the band, and Averill did not need to ask twice to get people’s arms in the air. We also got to sing, or shout or whathaveyou, in As Rome Burns, where the audience put some extra weight to the line; “Sing, sing, sing to the slaves”; in my opinion we made it sound quite awesome!

Primordial had a few things working against them though.
First of all, the sound was really bad, and thus we missed out on a lot of the finer details present in the music – this was especially true in the grand finale with Empire Falls, the song I had been looking the most forward to during the gig.
Another thing was certainly the timing. While I’m aware that Primordial aren’t large enough a name to nail a headlining spot at this festival, seeing a band such as this in broad daylight just takes some of the atmosphere and the feeling away from it.
Both of these points were of course hard for the band to fight, but they had an impact on the overall feeling nonetheless, and thus deserved a mention.

All in all though, I now had a clearer image of what Primordial was all about, and more than that, I liked it and would certainly not mind seeing them again someday.

Setlist (incomplete):

No Grave Deep Enough
As Rome Burns
Lain With The Wolf
Bloodied Yet Unbowed
The Coffin Ships
Empire Falls

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