LIVE REVIEW: Primordial at The Academy (Feb 27th 2016)

Primordial Tour PosterDate: February 27th, 2016
Venue: The Academy, Dublin
Line-up: Primordial + Mgla + Urfaust

Primordial is a name synonymous with the Irish music scene, their celtic infused black metal has seen them make waves both at home and abroad. For their hometown show they decided on an intimate show with fans in the moderately sized Button Factory. However, the tickets were quick to move and before long the show had sold out. After seeing the demand it was decided that the show be upgraded to The Academy, while a slightly larger venue the band still promised to deliver the intimate show they had announced with a 2 hour set spanning the bands lengthy career.

Opening up tonight’s show were Dutch duo Urfaust. While the group only performs with 2 members, IX on guitar/vocals and VRDRBR on drums, they managed to create a dense minimalistic atmosphere that was deeply engaging. The riffs were droning and sorrowful while the drums were powerful and full of feeling. I managed to lose myself in the music almost instantly, carefully listening to the tracks as they built up, but after a while it all began to feel rather repetitive, a rare case when I would say the performance would have benefitted more from being a little shorter.

Poland’s Mgla have been raved about over the past year coinciding with the release of their 3rd album Exercises in Futility in September. Part of Mgla’s performance is wearing covers over their faces, a gimmick which was slightly ruined by them doing their soundcheck just moments beforehand without them on. Moving onto the actual performance the tempo was much higher than that of Urfaust before them, many of the guitars riffs could even be considered catchy. Their stage presence was cold and distance from the audience but it didn’t stop the scattered groups of headbanging and many ill attempts at mosh pits. The drummer was rather obscured at the back of the stage, partly due to low lighting and also the dark clothes they were wearing, but what I could see were blurred hands swiftly navigating all parts of the drum kit. Did their performance live up to the hype would be the real question here and I can easily say that yes it did.

Tonight not only were Primordial supporting their latest album Where Greater Men Have Fallen but also nearly 30 years since the bands inception as Forsaken back in 1987. With a two hour set and a huge back catalogue to choose from, they open up the show with the titular track of Where Greater Man Have Fallen. Vocalist AA Nemtheanga storms out on stage in a tattered shirt and hood, his gaze deep and piercing, it was quite intimidating when he managed to lock eyes with you as he scanned over the room.

While the other band members weren’t quite dressed up as much as AA, opting instead for simple plain black attire, their performances were on par with his. The guitar pairing of Ciarán MacUilliam and Michael O’Floinn brought us from cleaner celtic inspired acoustics to their longer heavy/black metal pieces. Bassist Pól MacAmlaigh was nice and high in the mix but never overpowering, meanwhile hidden in the background was drummer Simon O’Laoghaire who was happily beating his skins without too much of a fuss.

Despite the lack of the intimate venue that people were promised, Primordial made their best efforts to keep the packed room of fans happy. AA had loads of interaction with the crowd; he set the scene before every song with backgrounds/stories for the lyrics and most importantly he was sure to give out handshakes or fistbumps to those who reached up to him or was caught crowdsurfing. Despite AA’s best efforts, a 2 hour set was too much for some with many simply biding their time until their favourite songs were played. “Lain with the Wolf” and “Gods to the Godless” managed to get the crowd in gear while later on “The Coffin Ships” and closer “Empire Falls” had the crowd screaming their lungs out together with AA.

Setlist:
Where Greater Men Have Fallen
Lain With the Wolf
Graven Idol
Babel’s Tower
No Grave Deep Enough
The Calling
The Mouth of Judas
Gods to the Godless
The Seed of Tyrants
The Coffin Ships
Glorious Dawn
As Rome Burns
Traitors Gate
Death of the Gods
Empire Falls

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