A Journey's End (Reissue)
posted on 10/2009 By:
I’ll go ahead and say it outright; A Journey’s End is my favorite Primordial album, and likely always will be. A dense, challenging record, it represents the ideal crossroads between the depressive, blackened vibe of the band’s preceeding debut Imrama and the triumphant gait of the outfit’s later material. In addition to the magnificent depth to the sound itself, the emotional impact and progressive compositional work make A Journey’s End the current high point of Primordial’s catalog, and a true album for the ages.
Primordial’s had some truly monumental album-openers over the years (“The Golden Spiral,” “The Heretic Age,” “Empire Falls”), but none of them can quite compare to the dark majesty of “Graven Idol,” with its titanic assortment of riffs, surprisingly technical arrangements, and a striking performance by Nemtheanga on vocals. After the quieter respite of “Dark Song,” the band strikes gold again with the awe-inspiring “Autumn’s Blaze,” which gets my vote for the best fucking song this band has ever written. While these two tracks are arguably the album’s high point, the band keeps up their stride admirably, delivering some seriously memorable pieces in the sorrowful title track, the haunting “Solitary Mourner,” and the mammoth “Bitter Harvest,” which shifts from inspiring tremolo melodies to a dark blackened atmosphere before moving to a breathtaking finish.
About the only complaint one could summon for this album is its slow pacing; only four out of the seven tracks consist of real Primordial metal songs, with the other three serving more as quiet interludes. But the breathtaking quality of all the material presented here renders this point moot unless you’re unwilling to give Primordial’s softer side a chance. Much like Imrama, A Journey’s End often seems to get slighted by recent fans in favor of the band’s works from Spirit the Earth Afllame onward. But the perfect balance established here between Primordial's various sonic eras, as well as the immense quality of the songs themselves and the nice extras included with this reissue (including a bonus CD with a great live performance), make missing out on this album the second time around a criminal mistake indeed.
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