Primitai: Rise Again (Green China)
So, a little late on this one (my bad) but one of my favourite bands of the last few years Primitai return with their long awaited third album. No time wasting form the Sandhurst lads as they run headfirst into opening track “Fortune Favours The Brave” with their signature duel solos and fierce rhythmic drums that give them the classic British metal edge that we all love. Tom Draper and the wizard Srdjan Bilic guitars float on top of pounding drums delivered by Chris Chilcott throughout the first track providing me with great hope that Primitai have picked up from where they left off with their fantastic previous album The Line of Fire. Holding my breath as we slide into the next track “Scream When You See Us” my worries are cast aside. The track opens again with screeching solos and the crashing drums that quickly descend into nice running thrash riffs that support the brilliant voice of Guy Millar. This husky tuned voice has always impressed, as he is able to reach both ends of the spectrum with surprising success and within this track he proves no different. Although lyrically a little cheesy, Scream When You See Us musically contains everything you want from a British melodic thrash band and hey, what’s wrong with a little cheese now and then?
The next few songs are title track “Rise Again” and “Pound For Pound”. More melodic in their tone these tracks demonstrate another side of Primitai that shows off their skill and versatility. Miller holding notes with great ease at times, while Draper and Bilic pull back from the thrashing riffs and break out masterful solo after solo. Both of these tracks left me gently nodding my head with a little smile on my face. Swiftly moving on to “Driven Wild” and “The Cannibal” both of which open in epic power metal style reminiscent of bands such as Hammerfall or even Powerwolf.
Stuffed full of story telling lyrics and thumping drums, these tracks have an atmosphere about them that really pulls me in. “Holy Defender” through to “The Huntress” return us back to some great classic British metal that Primitai, in my opinion excel at. Miller’s voice particularly impresses in Holy Defender as it almost creeps and slithers its way through the track. “Blink Of An Eye” and The Huntress speed up the occasion even further, Blink Of An Eye particularly standing out with a great grinding riff that slides into brilliant hand thumping breakdown. Finally the album closes with “What Watches Over Me”. The verses here reminded me an awful lot of Staind, with slow weeping guitars and mellow hurting vocals from Miller; a side that I have never heard from his voice before, but a side that I was really impressed with. Despite the mellow melancholy like verses the song proceeds to jump into drum, guitar and powerful vocal filled chorus’s that break the song up nicely, finishing with an astounding accumulation of all of Primitai’s skills put together in an instrumental that is fit for a king.
For me Primitai have returned with a cracking album that has picked up where they left off, while at the same time advancing their sound and style enough to change things up a little but still standing up for the style of music that they clearly love. The only downside to this album is the lack of an obvious anthem or two. Primitai for me are best taken in live, as they are one of the best I've seen. It’s the passion that they show as well as the anthems that brought me to love them, if they hope to pick up more fans along the way this may be a slight downfall of this album. But hey, they still have Nocturnal Hordes and Sin City for that I guess… 9/10.
Winterstorm: Cathyron (NoiseArt Records)
Not knowing much about Winterstorm I took the plunge and delved into their latest album, one word I would use to describe the first song… explosive. With no introduction needed the German lads show us what to expect from them throughout this album, and that is Guitar, fiddle, flute, violin, accordion, drum, keyboard and possibly a little bit of harmonica filled metal. But alas there was no cowbell that I could hear...
As my ears adapted to the barrage of instruments thrown their way the track “A Hero Rises” dropped in pace and the vocals of Alexander Schirmer are introduced. There is nothing groundbreaking vocally here but his voice is good enough to serve its purpose. For me Winterstorm are all about the music and this continued with little let up as the next few tracks from “Cathyron” to “Burning Gates” were unleashed. During these tracks second vocalist Armin steps in and he sounds eerily like Mathias Nygård from Turisas, which therefore also means any of the songs that he is involved in… sound like Turisas. However, maybe this is because essentially, that is what Winterstorm are; a German version of Turisas minus the horns. Carrying on from “Windkeepers” to “Elders of Wisdom” this theory is even more compounded as the introduction on operatic backing vocals and more tales of epic battles and travels are regaled to us. Metalavial” however is a breakthrough of originality from the band. Sticking to their trusted folk/battle metal style they use this to give us a lesson in German metal mythology, a nice turn of pace and proved to me that they could be something a little more original if they truly wanted.
Back to the final few tracks and “The Evocation” to the “Elements Strife” pick up from where Winterstom left off prior to Metalavial. Instrument and melody packed Power/Folk/Battle metal that pleases the ear instrumentally and shows off their undoubted skills. I’m unsure how to approach this rating as far as Winterstorm and originality goes… there is very little. If you’re a Turisas fan you will probably love them, but if you are hard core Folk/Battle metal fan you will no doubt be a little disappointed. My opinion; Winterstorm are Turisas only I would suggest musically with more skill and talent. They are able to combine so many instruments while keeping them melodic and not sounding like a car crash. Michi and Armin are able to ride their solos and riffs alongside instruments of all obscurities and make it work. While Sebastian’s various percussion is delivered with great aplomb and forms the bedrock of most of the songs, supported well by the keys of Max. In conclusion if you want the complete package with a little more originality despite in my opinion, them not being as accomplished musicians as Winterstorm, look in the direction of Turisas or Ensiferum. Ultimately Winterstorm are frustrate me as musically they are very impressive but have no real form of their own yet with Metalavial they proved they could do it!. A tentative 7/10.