Jan 192016

Primeval Mass-To Empyrean Thrones


Tomorrow (January 20) is the release date for To Empyrean Thrones, the remarkable new album by the Greek black metal band Primeval Mass. This is the band’s third full-length and the first on which the musician known as Orth handles all instruments and vocals.

The first song I heard from the album, “For Astral Triumphs”, was released for listening well in advance of the album last spring. It made an immediate and powerful impact; if it weren’t attached to a 2016 album, it would easily have made my list of 2015’s “Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs”. And it turns out that the song has strong competition from seven other excellent tracks.


Primeval Mass-CD and tape


As I wrote when I first heard “For Astral Triumphs”, it alternately blazes and rocks. At its core is a riveting melodic riff that appears early and then sinks its fangs in your head every time it appears — but the song is really a treasure chest of riffs and variations on that melodic theme, one jewel after another. When the music accelerates into a white-hot fury, it’s a mainline injection of pure adrenaline, but its’s just as gripping when it courses like shimmering streamers of lights. The inflamed vocals — a combination of demonic barking and head-back howls — are a perfect match to the molten, cyclonic surging of the music.

Most of the songs burn like a furnace, with rapid-fire snare blasts that sound like automatic weaponry and dense layerings of lashing riffs and spectral arpeggios, accompanied by those inflamed howls and blood-freezing snarls. The atmosphere is one of chaos made manifest in sound, yet within these thrashing maelstroms lurk tantalizing melodies, booming grooves, white-hot solos, and well-timed changes of pace. The album is thus not only a head-whipping and adrenaline-fueled rush, it’s interesting and often very catchy.

So much happens within these raging tracks that the more you listen, the more you discover. Beyond being an inventive song-writer, Orth is an excellent guitarist, and those performances take center stage all the way through (though the drumming is also damned good). But unexpectedly, the song on the album that’s my second favorite (or at least tied for second with “With the Emblem of the Blackwinged”) is the one song that’s dramatically different from all the rest — “Behind the Watching Shadows”.

Appropriately, it comes in the middle of the album, an instrumental piece that provides a sharp change of pace and mood before the tornado touches down again. Introduced by a slow chiming melody, the song remains glacial in its pace and freezing in the chill of its gloom, yet the bereft melody, which is both mystical and squalling, becomes increasingly intense — and stays with you. As does the album as a whole.


To Empyrean Thrones features eye-catching cover art by Karmazid, and you can order it on CD, cassette, and digitally via the Bandcamp link below.




  1. This kind of reminds me of Dissection in a very good way.

  2. “Behind the Watching Shadows” is an awesome track!

  3. This be some solid stuff.

  4. Damn! Great stuff!!!!

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