Back to home page
Reviews :: Spirit The Earth Aflame review

Spirit The Earth Aflame review

Primordial  - Spirit The Earth Aflame (Album)


Songs of Triumph and Woe

In 2005, Primordial traveled across its rolling, verdant hills of Ireland and across the Atlantic Ocean to land on Metal Blade Records in the U.S. Once reaching that fabled label , the group released The Gathering Wilderness album. The Nameless Dead came two years later on the same label. Since then, Metal Blade has gone on a war campaign, releasing Primordial’s back catalog (seemingly in order of release).

While Primordial had good label representation—Cacophony, Hammerheart, and Misanthropy, which all released fantastic albums in the mid-nineties to early 2000s—none of these labels had (yes, I think they have all gone under) the widespread range, influence or business savvy of Metal Blade. After releasing the first two full-lengths of the Celtic black metal group’s back catalog, Imra and A Journey’s End, Metal Blade brings us the third installment of Primordial’s discography—Spirit the Earth Aflame.

Fans of Primordial (it’s hard not to be a fan if you like pagan/folk and black metal) really should pick up each of the group’s albums and listen to them in order. Imra is a stripped down, heavy-on-the-black-metal version, while its follow up A Journey’s End showed the band really come into its own and create the sound that would define its career. Spirit the Earth Aflame showed even more development, which many regard as their finest hour.

Here, Naihmass Nemtheanga (AA—Alan Averill) put greater emphasis on his clean crooning. Amidst dream-like guitar work and drum cymbals that wax and wane like the ocean’s tide, “The Soul Must Sleep” shows the proud front man narrate the character’s epic journeys through land and sea. At first, he sings in a retrospective, subdued tongue before letting loose his trademark, impassioned wail. The group presents such enamored melodies as the Celtic-flavored acoustic guitar on “Gods to the Godless” to their patent rolling drums and guitar rhythms on the title track.

These elements give Spirit the Earth Aflame such an ethnic characterization—elements that bring induce listen after listen—but the group’s transitions from harmony to barbarity is the its trump card. With the bulk of their material ranging from seven to eight minutes long, Primordial has a theater to premiere each of their tragedies. Like a Celt warrior fighting an evil witch, becoming possessed, pushing out the witch’s demonic influence and then being possessed again, AA traverses triumphant voices, dignified narratives and scowling screams on “Gods to the Godless” and “Glorious Dawn.” The album’s finest moment, though, is when AA sticks to his singing voice, but does it to the fastest, blackest song of the album “The Burning Season.”

The version this review focuses on is a digipack edition containing another album of live, demo and cover tracks. Songs such as “To Enter Pagan” offer a glimpse of the band’s strictly black metal roots. The group performs interesting live covers of Bathory’s “Total Destruction” and Rotting Christ’s “Inside the Eye of Algond,” which reveal two of their early influences. This second disc is nice to have, especially for the rare factor, but not necessary. Spirit the Earth Aflame stands on its own merit. It will be interesting to see what Metal Blade has to offer on the next re-issue, Storm Before Calm (hopefully, they’ll reissue that album, too). Whatever these Celtic metal heads put out next, it’s sure to be fantastic!

Review this album

Reviewers opinion :

Previous review


Next review


Spirit The Earth Aflame - Info

View Primordial discography
Spirit The Earth Aflame info
buy on Amazon
Release : 2000
Genre : Pagan/Folk/Black Metal
Record : Hammerheart Productions
Playlist :
view lyrics : View lyrics
1. Spirit the Earth Aflame (02:25)Spirit the Earth Aflame lyrics
2. Gods to the Godless (07:49)Gods to the Godless lyrics
3. The Soul Must Sleep (06:39)The Soul Must Sleep lyrics
4. The Burning Season (08:44)The Burning Season lyrics
5. Glorious Dawn (07:24)Glorious Dawn lyrics
6. The Cruel Sea (04:05)The Cruel Sea lyrics
7. Children of the Harvest (08:31)Children of the Harvest lyrics
listen : Play the album


View band page
Creation : 1987
Genre : Black Metal
Origin : Ireland

Related bands

Reviewed albums :
Beyond the Gates review
Beyond the Gates

Seven Churches review
Seven Churches

View band page
Creation : 1983
Genre : Death Metal
Origin : United States

Reviewed albums :
Nordland II review
Nordland II

Nordland I review
Nordland I

Hammerheart review

Blood Fire Death review
Blood Fire Death

View band page
Creation : 1983
Genre : Black Metal
Origin : Sweden

Reviewed albums :
Day Of Reckoning review
Day Of Reckoning

View band page
Creation : 1982
Genre : Thrash Metal
Origin : Germany


Reviewed albums :
AEALO review

Sanctus Diavolos review
Sanctus Diavolos

Rotting Christ
Rotting Christ
View band page
Creation : 1987
Genre : Black Metal
Origin : Greece

Live reports: