Release DetailsLABEL Metal Blade Records
RELEASED ON 2/22/2005
The Gathering Wilderness
posted on 2/2005 By:
I used to love Opeth. I adored them. I owned every album of theirs and eagerly awaited the next release. Around the time of Blackwater Park, I started to lose interest. To most people who ask me, I'll deny ever liking them. I'll exclaim how I think they're dishonest artists who repeat themselves. Truth of the matter is, I felt like they lost something over the years. It was their authenticity. It no longer felt like they were pouring themselves into their music - rather that they were just following a tired formula geared to earn a reaction out of their fans.
Who knows if it's true - and who am I to say what they are or aren't doing? But one thing I will say is that I rarely find bands these days that convince me of their true sincerity in what they play. To me, that's the most important aspect in any art, and also a huge reason on why if you get in my car, you're not likely to hear brutal death metal. While I do know a heavy amount about it and my appreciation of it is still wholeheartedly there, I know that no matter how dedicated these people are to their bands, they're probably not hacking people up in their basements. And that's fine - that's not what I expect from death metal, but I'm in another musical stage at the moment. So this is why I'm so grateful to not only be able to hear this release by Ireland's Primordial, but to also review it. It has an air of honesty that has been lacking in so many releases in the last few years.
Mid-paced and filled with folky melodies and a vibrant guitar tone, The Gathering Wilderness is actually my first exposure to Primordial, and thus far into the band's catalogue, I'm left with such a positive impression. Balanced well with sorrowful chordal changes and back-up chanting/humming, the album opens with "The Golden Spiral" and features some very decent clean singing and recollects the same atmosphere of some of the more notable black metal bands of the 90's. Alan Averill's vocals are faultless and filled with sentiment, penetrating the thick layers of ringing and droning guitar. I'm not used to emotion being inserted into my metal music with the same ingenuity that Primordial utilizes. Something about the faraway sounds of determined drumming and the plaintive guitar melodies triggers some sort of internalized reaction. I've always had a problem with acts like Arcturus and Winds due to the fact that to me, they seem so transparent and ego-feeding at times. What I hear on songs like the title track, which exposes the band's Celtic roots, is music that is both expressive and genuine without being so blatantly cathartic for the songwriters. If I'm not mistaken, Billy Anderson (Sleep, Neurosis, Brutal Truth, Melvins) is responsible for the fairly clear, yet not overtly processed, production. Basically put, you'll never forget that these are standard instruments they're playing, not something that has been manipulated into almost sounding like some sort of synthesized track.
I feel like I'm not supposed to like this - like there's going to be an army of people lashing out at me, making all sorts of claims about the bands authenticity and even musical merits. Believe me, I've tried to find something wrong with this album. There is nothing. No matter, though. Whatever gripes people have towards this band can be quelled by the fact that Primordial have written a near hour long record that remains captivating from start to stop. Purposeful and passionate, this is undeniably brilliant - and that's the final word on the subject as far as I'm concerned. Just stop reading and get it if you've ever enjoyed any sort of pagan/viking metal.
Register to post comments.
Redemption at the Puritans Hand
Storm Before Calm (Reissue)
Spirit The Earth Aflame (Reissue)
A Journey's End (Reissue)
To The Nameless Dead
Storm Before Calm