Primordial, Effenaar, Eindhoven, 18 April 2022

Under the banner of Heathen Crusade to Doomsday, Primordial toured Europe for a couple of weeks. It had only a single stop in the Netherlands, and that was in Eindhoven, on this Easter Monday so what better to do on some x-tian holiday than to go to a heathen crusade. Like many tours this has been postponed. Originally it was scheduled to celebrate their 30th anniversary. Now it was the 31st. Oh well… They brought two support acts on the tour.

The first act was called Rome. They had just started as I entered the venue which was still largely empty at that time. Two guys was on stage, one was standing behind some percussion and the other had an acoustic guitar and sang. This was neo-folk and coincidentally that appears to be a synonym for dull. Or it is just not for me. The guitarist mostly strummed chords. It was kind of soft in the mix, so maybe some of the finesses got lost. His vocals were actually quite monotonic. The tempo stayed mostly the same mid-pace throughout the song and was very similar for each song. And not much happened on stage either. The last song was somewhat more varied. Something to quickly forget…

Swallow the Sun were allowed to play a full set of around 75 minutes. I really dig their first two album as rather melodic doom death. Later albums seemed to put more emphasis on atmosphere and less on heavy riffs. Their odd-one out funeral doom metal album as part of the 3CD set they released a couple of years back, I like too. Obviously the meant to promote their new album Moonflowers so they played no less than 4 songs of it. From the earliest albums only the perpetual Swallow appeared on the set as the last song. No Descending Winters. Don’t Fall Asleep is probably their most commercial song. The penultimate song was the meanest surprise of the latest album, and stands out from the rest as, after a very gently intro, it is actually quite fast, blast beats and all and topped of with a really cool melody line. Definitively a highlight in their repertoire. That said it was a pretty good gig.

The main act however is a very different band. The Irish Primordial are rooted in pagan black metal, but have since long found a genre of their own. Apparently main songwriter and guitarist Ciáran could not make it this tour and a replacement stepped it; I didn’t catch his name tho. Another hurdle was the singer Alan was sick, seemed tired and his voice was not as great as normal. Nevertheless they seemed to enjoy playing a lot and played no less than an hour and 45 minutes. Songs have been selected from most of their albums, even Sons of the Morrigan from Storm before Calm (would have really been awesome if they would have played Heretic’s Age, but hey…). They have so many awesome songs, it must be terrible for them to select a set list. Obviously The Coffin Ships were played, and this was unfortunately the song that was most hurt by Alan’s vocals. For the rest of the set it actually worked out decently. Musically it was all great though. So a really enjoyable gig for a bit of a troubled band. Near the end they even threw in a extra song that wasn’t on the set list – Heathen Tribes, before the set closer Empires Fall. Hopefully they will come back soon without all the troubles. A fantastic band none the less.

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