Primordial at The Underworld, Camden

Support: Fen| Crom Dubh
March 31, 2017 at The Underworld, Camden
Promoter: Old Empire

On March 31st, Primordial played to a sold out Underworld Camden, with two of the finest black metal bands the UK has to offer in tow. It was intense.

Crom Dubh take to the stage first, their black metal melodic, and with tinges of folk. They certainly hit some spectacular highs during their set, not least a Maiden-esque section in one of their new songs, and such moments, generally finales to songs, usually leave you wanting more. Still a very satisfying set for any fans of this very British Winterfylleth-esque style of black metal, even if the vocalist does talk too much – and inaudibly – between songs, limiting any chance of getting a proper level of momentum going.

Taking to the stage to a folky intro, Fen waste no time demonstrating their take on the British black metal – albeit by playing a style that seems closer to doom. It’s certainly atmospheric, and just when you’re starting to think it’s all a bit aimless, they can kick it up a notch to a stunning blackened climax. Solid band, with some impressive new material.

After an interval of Gregorian chanting played over the speaker, it’s time for the main event. Primordial appear to rapturous cheering, an intro tape of Dark Horse on the Wind already setting a somewhat bleak atmosphere, and it’s instantly clear that vocalist Nemtheanga has the crowd in the palm of his hand, prompting the first audience shout-along merely by introducing opening number Where Greater Men Have Fallen.

They never let up. It’s near impossible to not get swept along in the fist-pumping camaraderie, or bang your head to gem after gem (this show gave me the first bangover I’d had in a few years). From the pure aggression of No Grave Deep Enough, to the sorrow of The Coffin Ships, and anthemic closing number Empire Falls, the ability to provoke such a wide array of emotions is where Primordial excel; simultaneously bleak and cathartic, mournful yet uplifting.

Seeing Primordial live is a near-perfect experience.

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