Primordial - Redemption At The Puritan's Hand
For years now Primordial have been quietly releasing brilliant album after brilliant album of their own unique brand of black metal - with a decidedly unique Irish twist. They may have almost single-handedly kicked off “folk metal” and its many bastard sons, but none have as yet come to match the craft and consistency that these five gentlemen from Ireland have achieved. Redemption At The Puritan’s Hand very much continues this trend as the opening ‘No Grave Deep Enough’ slowly builds from a menacing synth drone into that distinctly Primordial rush: bodhran-esque drums that crash like a thousand armies whilst the guitars roar along in that familiar “bow triplet” pattern that is so synonymous with traditional Irish music, only here turned up to eleven.
Redemption At The Puritan’s Hand might not have the immediately catchy hooks that beg to be screamed or the utter rawness of the likes of ‘The Golden Spiral’ or ‘As Rome Burns’ that marked their last two albums out as absolute classics, but to say this is a disappointment would do a massive disservice to the class that they still display here. As unfeasible as it may seem, the tracks here are even darker and more insidious than its predecessors, and combined with the ever-present haunting of the bleak Celtic landscapes that has pervaded their music from the very beginning gives us a truly unsettling record.
But it is the closing triumvirate that makes Redemption At The Puritan’s Hand so great an album and lifts it up to the pantheon alongside The Gathering Wilderness and To The Nameless Dead. ‘The Black Hundred’ is the heaviest thing the band have done in many a long year, an unrelenting hymn to the brutality of conviction and religion, with Primordial once again demonstrating just how good they are at painting the most vivid of pictures with their music; the following ‘The Puritan’s Hand’ is the very essence of a slow burner, an exquisite lesson in constructing a masterpiece from the merest hint of a song, culminating in a spectacular display of power and darkness revolving around a riff delicately poised between destructive heaviness and melodious memorability.
The final offering of ‘Death To The Gods’ is about as perfect a Primordial track as you are ever likely to hear: vitriolic, majestic, bleak, melodious, doom-laden music in its pure distempered form, fuelled by emotion strong enough to bring the weak to their knees. The unsullied sadness that runs through the very heart of the entirety of Redemption At The Puritan’s Hand, together with their uncanny ability to get the head banging, has once again aligned to create yet another very special work of art.