Review: Primordial – How it Ends


Primordial – How it Ends

Origin: Dublin, Ireland 🇮🇪
Genre: Celtic Folk / Black Metal
Label: Metal Blade Records
Formed: 1992
Release date: September 29th, 2023

Dublin’s Primordial – their history, a rich one that dates back to 1991. As one of black metal’s original folk projects, their music has served as inspiration to hordes the world over. It’s in the struggle, it’s in heritage and in history where the heart of Primordial’s art beats. The warmest and the purest crimson coursing through past generations, brought to life by a very in-touch corp of artists. After all, the real meat off the black metal bone is in what they do; to honor heritage is the BM way. To face hardships without losing heart, and to hold tight to tradition; not simply Devil worship and blasphemy. If black metal were rooted only in the latter two concepts, there would be little hope for its future and the movement would’ve died by now. It seems that few collectives understand this more clearly than Primordial. On 09/29, the pride of Irish blackened metal, unveiled their latest offering, “How It Ends”, via Metal Blade.

How It Ends

A livelier record than their previous “Exile Amongst the Ruins” LP is “How It Ends”. It feels like the concept or story behind the music takes place in a different time further into the future than the theme of the previous record. Faster progressions, blackened to perfection, blaze through equally engaging album cuts: the titular track and “We Will Not Serve” – alive with olden spirit and pulsating with martial rhythms. All phases in service of A.A. Nemtheanga’s heartfelt-as-always style of vocalizing. Over an hour’s worth of material, no wasted recording space. And as the struggles deepen and the ploughs rust under golden sunset, it’s to the sweetest melodies and the most profound poetry. Not a tremolo nor a blast-beat to be found thus far; only soulful heritage pieces and epics like “Call to Cernunnos”. The latter a rhythmic affair to tantalize the spirits of Celtic legend into a fevered state. You can hear their voices now as they cut through each pounding second of this one. Words of wisdom, words of strength and an overwhelming sense of pride to be heard and experienced here – the only way Primordial know how to do it; it hasn’t sounded this sweet in some time…

“Exile Amongst the Ruins” was a taxing experience, fraught with off-putting Biblical references and quasi-medieval soundscapes. A decent album and a nice representation of what the band has done finely for more than 30 years, but simply not on the same level as “How It Ends”. With this latest chapter, you’ll absorb every note and sequence wholly and without reservation. “Traidisiúnta” – perhaps the finest example of ethos-framing music the entire album has to offer, and “All Against All” – purely instrumental interludes that tie the album together nicely. Some cuts are designed to be overpowered by A.A’s vocals, while others let the band have their way. These alternations and the shared responsibility of each artist behind his instrument are what keep you locked into this thing. A full plate with all the blackened trimmings to pack your ravenous gullet. “How It Ends” culminates with another epic in “Victory Has 1000 Fathers, Defeat Is an Orphan”. Folk, heavy metal and black metal influences bound by rock-inspired cadences and accented by gentle acoustics. Guitar work is the bread and butter of this brilliant and powerful closer.


Get lost in it… You’ll be glad you did. Beyond fulfilling and a true testament to Primordial’s profound yet oft-overlooked talent along with their deep-running understanding of what makes for great black metal. No growls, no grunts and no warmongering. “How It Ends” is beyond those things, but not in a pretentious way, quite the opposite, in fact. This music is laboured from earth and ash – hands filthy and withered to uncover a world of heritage just below the surface of where typical black metal can be found. Something deeper, a grande yet honest adventure into the past where perseverance and heart were all that mattered.


Experience the titular-track to “How It Ends” right here, as presented by Metal Blade:

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