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Primordial - Moho Live, Manchester - 4th May 2012 (Live Review)

Monday, 14 May 2012 Written by Ben Bland
Primordial - Moho Live, Manchester - 4th May 2012 (Live Review)

There probably isnít that much that can be said about Primordial that hasnít been said before. Over the course of their twenty-five year career the Irish metal legends have honed their distinctive sound to near perfection, as exemplified by last yearís stunning 'Redemption at the Puritanís Hand'. One thing Primordial have never been however is regular visitors to the UK. With the exception of last yearís unfortunate Bloodstock performance (when frontman AA Nemtheanga lost his voice) this Manchester show is the first time Primordial have entertained British metalheads for three years, and it is the first time the band has played a UK headline show outside of London since 1997.

ImageAs such it is no surprise that there is a healthy crowd waiting outside Moho LiveÖunfortunately though they have to wait for a rather long time. Despite doors being advertised as being before 7pm, they actually fail to open until closer to half 7. Whilst I am all in favour of the abolishment of early doors for shows, I am not so favourably disposed towards venues treating punters like idiots with regards to sudden changes of times and misinformation. This sort of attitude, combined with the abysmal sightlines, makes Moho Live difficult to like and, with so many excellent venues spread across the city, makes many a crowd member wonder why promoters insist on booking the place.

On with the music though, Winterfylleth stroll on stage at about 8pm and proceed to engulf the crowd with a sea of torrentially heavy black metal. Praised as they have been by many fans of the genre, perhaps it merely reflects upon my own personal apathy towards much of its traditional stylistic elements that I find them a little tedious and uninspired. There is nothing here that hasnít been done more imaginatively beforehand.

The same could be said about Hell if you want to be cynicalÖbut then Hell are a special case. Their story alone, which you can google for yourself rather than make me explain here, is one thing but the way they go about performing their music is something else entirely. Their classic metal template is straight out of the NWOBHM era, but then they were around there then so cannot really be criticised for that, and even if you were in a mind to be critical of Hell their live performance is very hard to take shots at. Ridiculously theatrical and over the top it may be, but it is so stupidly entertaining that even the most hard-nosed of black metal fans packed inside Moho Live this evening has a smile on their face by the time the band whip out the synchronised headbanging during 'The Quest'. Go and catch this band live, they really are worth it.

So are Primordial of course. It is not just the scarcity of their UK performances that has made the audience tonight so excited about their headline set. AA Nemtheanga (thankfully in good voice this evening) is one of the most formidable frontmen in the game and his war painted frame is imposing enough to work perfectly alongside such anthems like 'As Rome Burns' and the emphatically defiant 'No Grave Deep Enough'. Musically this band is all about the sonic textures weaved by guitarists CiŠran MacUiliam and MicheŠl ” Floinn. Some say this band has rested on their laurels with their sound in recent years but what with the immense power of their compositions in the live arena, such criticisms seem misplaced. The riffs transport the onlookers with Primordial on their journeys, creating a unified sea of fists in the air during a triumphant closing march through 'Empire Falls'. This truly is an absolutely stunning performance.

'Redemption at the Puritanís Hand' by Primordial is out now via Metal Blade. 'Human Remains' by Hell is out now via Nuclear Blast.

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