Mid way through the title track of Primitai’s new album, their sixth full-lengther by my reckoning, you’ll find yourself smiling contentedly (after you’ve stopped windmilling, obvs); The song sits at number three in the album’s tracklist, and the smile you’re wearing is because that’s as long as it takes to confirm that the boys are back, and in corking form again.
Of course some affirmations come earlier; Guy Miller – by now one of British metal’s most characteristic voices – is clearly in something approaching career-best form from the get go, but once everything clicks everywhere else there quite simply is no holding this band back, and in the shape of Violence Of The Skies they offer up another album that screams to be lauded as one of Britain’s best, alongside contemporaries Neuronspoiler’s effort of last year, Spoiled For Choice, of recent years.
There’s an almost effortless about everything this band does that really does take the breath away. Melody is never far away in a Primitai song, and throughout this album the melody card is played with relentless, ruthless efficiency wherever possible, whether it comes from the mic of Miller or the superb guitars of Srdjan Bilic and sometime cohort Sergio Girón. The work of Bilic on Valley of Darkness in particular is a masterclass of melodic metal playing.
Warriors Of Time adds swirling keys to the mix (courtesy of guest ivory tinkler Vladimir Djedovic), bringing to mind Thin Lizzy circa Thunder and Lightning, and again it’s this sort of readiness to experiment a little, to fly in the face of what might be expected of a ‘normal’ trad metal band that marks Primitai out as the real deal. Whetever it takes to expand this band’s musical horizons, the nettle is firmly grasped, the challenge accepted. It makes for an invigorating listen, let me tell you!
Star spotters (or, more accurately hearers) will be drawn to the righteous metal assault of Put To The Sword, which features a spritely solo from Saxon‘s Paul Quinn; Needless to say he puts in an honest shift, but it’s important to note that what he does merely complements what is already there – Primitai certainly need no celebrity help to get to where they are headed. The Cold Surface of the Moon is another track that pushes the Primitai envelope a little, with a few more ‘prog’ shapes being thrown than you might expect. However the band once again meld the difference to their advantage, the result being another string added to the band’s bow rather than an awkward, if ambitious, misstep that’s best left forgotten. The resultant song sits so comfortably within the band’s canon the casual listener might suspect they’d been churning this type of material out for aeons.
The biggest surprise comes with CD bonus track Prophecies, wherein the band take a track written by classical composer Philip Glass for the 1982 film Koyaanisqatsi and completely make it their own. I’m no expert – you’d have to ask my Sentinel Daily colleague Graham Goodge about Philip Glass – but the band seem to have made rather a good fist of things, in the process finding a way to round off the album in surprising yet thoroughly convincing fashion. More power to them for that!
Violence Of The Skies releases on March 26th.