Primitive Graven Image
Traversing The Awesome Night
posted on 9/2007 By:
A promising debut from this UK duo, Traversing The Awesome Night is an old school black metal album incorporating thrash and doom influences. The guitars in particular are very thrash-inspired, with effective doses of melody in the riffs and frequent soloing. I’d cite Bathory circa Blood Fire Death as an influence in this respect. The programmed drums are predominantly at a galloping mid-pace and often slower, with only occasional bursts of speed. Vocally, Primitive Graven Image is less distinct, with little variation on the standard, reverb-drenched rasp that is typical of the genre.
On the production side of things, Traversing The Awesome Night fairs better than a lot of underground black metal, with enough clarity and expansiveness to create the cold, open atmosphere that the genre’s leading bands do so well. The guitars take a slight back seat to the drum machine in the mix, but the overall separation of instruments is decent. Songwriting is a mixed bag on this disc. The early tracks are its strongest, with "The Journey To The Forest" midway through being my pick for a highlight. It stands out for being the album’s fastest track, and the pace doesn’t let up for an instant. The vocals are at their most harrowing and effective here, and are juxtaposed against a powerfully melodic guitar riff, creating a striking contrast. It rounds up the first half of the album nicely, but unfortunately also emphasizes the more pedestrian second half a bit too much.
The main problem with Traversing The Awesome Night is that after a promising beginning, it suffers from monotony after the halfway mark. The songs begin to get stuck in medium pace for too long, dragging out to five or six minutes, rendering the album over-long and tedious. To put my finger on it, I think the lack of a drummer has adversely affected the songwriting here, as he/she could have added considerably more in the way of dynamics and helped tighten up some of these arrangements. While Primitive Graven Image certainly show potential on their debut, they simply don’t exhibit enough standout qualities to go up against the black metal elite just yet.
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