Storm Before Calm
is a reissue of this Celtic/black metal band's 2002 CD. I don't have any point of reference for the band, but the fact that it's a reissue from the middle of their catalog (which goes back to 1995) suggests there's something special about it. It doesn't include any bonus tracks, not even an eighth song that was only included on UK version of the original edition. After a few listens, Storm Before Calm
presents a challenge for reviewing: on the one hand, I can try to appreciate it in the context of what it is; on the other hand, what it is is generally something that doesn't do anything for me.
As mentioned before, Primordial
are a blend of Celtic music/Celtic metal and black metal. And to some extent, the guitar melodies have some clear Celtic influence, and parts of songs like "Fallen To Ruin" and "Sons of Morrigan" have a more upbeat folk metal swing. The acoustic interlude "What Sleeps Within" is almost completely out of place, with the exception of the context of the acoustic intro to "Fallen To Ruin," and yet the first time I listened it was what made me perk up and pay attention more than anything else.
But the downside is the music is otherwise pretty heavily in the black metal end of things: thin production values, raspy and overwrought vocals that I can take or leave, and blasting for little more than the sake of blasting or artificially injecting heaviness. This is particularly evident on opener "The Heretic's Age," which spends nearly two minutes before getting to anything melodic or particularly interesting. The clean vocals range from overwrought and melodramatic in places to actually pretty good and a high point in others. And I don't want to make it sound like the CD has incessant blasting; in fact, the drums provide a good groove and some interesting tom fills throughout.
So in truth, if you are otherwise a fan of black metal, or at least have some appreciation for the genre, Storm Before Calm
has a decent blend of interesting melodies and writing, especially across ending track "Hosting of the Sidhe." But if the blackened leanings or the thin production are a turn-off, you should get your pagan fill elsewhere.