Primordial “Imrama” Re-release (2009)

The second re-release of Primordial’s strong debut has obviously been done with nostalgic empathy for this back then truly avant-garde music and is surely worth its money if you’re not familiar with this classic record of Irish pagan metal so far. The double digipak contains the album itself plus the “Dark Romanticism” demo (which itself has been re-released by now defunct Karmageddon Media some years ago). Furthermore you get a DVD with a show recorded in Cork in February 1994 which is of course an interesting gimmick documenting the low budget circumstances of an underground gig in Ireland at that time, so in regard to the sound don’t await anything else but necro quality.

In the interview included with this review, Alan describes Primordial’s music as “Irish, ancient, dark, atmospheric, passionate, emotional, sinister, enchanting and of course metal with a capital M” and that serves still as a reliable approach to the epic songs offering all trademarks of the band in raw forms. From today’s angle this might seem like a primitive blueprint of the more individual and stronger performance on the following album “Journey’s End”, but on the original release date “Imrama” was quite a surprise in the underground with its main focus on Norway, because it sounded harsh and nevertheless offered an already sublime alternative to the contemporary sound of Norwegian black metal with its powerful, slightly doomy melodies and Alan’s spectrum reaching from screams to clean vocals. “Beneath A Bronze Sky” catches your ears with traditionally influenced Irish folk music, but in contrast to Cruachan the folk elements are reduced and the omnipresent Irish mood is first of all this typical melancholic undertone with its nuances of anger and pride which still shapes Primordial’s sound today.

The booklet features liner notes as well as photos and demo covers from Primordial’s early days, and this time cover artist John O’Fathaigh is explicitly praised for his “masterpiece” as the band calls it. In many facets this record set standards for a whole genre and it speaks for itself that “Imrama” has even today more to offer than many rather soul- and emotionless products of the many questionable representatives of what pagan metal has turned into in the meantime. The sticker on this re-issue explains that the CD is “mandatory for any self-respecting heathen”. It’s a ridiculous and superfluous detail reflecting how much topical paganism is hollowed out and finally reduced to consumerism.

-Thor Joakimsson


Release:  March 2009
Label:  Metal Blade Records
Avantgenre:  Epic Irish Pagan Metal
Duration:  68:14
Origin:  Ireland
Official site:
Review online since:  24.03.2009 / 12:44:08


01 – Fuíl Arsa
02 – Infernal Summer
03 – Here I Am King
04 – The Darkest Flame
05 – The Fires…
06 – Mealltach
07 – Let The Sun Set On Life Forever
08 – To The Ends Of The Earth
09 – Beneath A Bronze Sky
10 – Awaiting The Dawn
11 – To Enter Pagan (demo)
12 – The Darkest Flame (demo)
13 – Among The Lazarae (demo)
14 – To The Ends Of The Earth (demo)

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