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Primordial - LIVE: Islington Academy, London 2012

Redemption At The Puritan's Hand Tour
May 5 (20:30-21:50)
Capacity 800

Due to most of the members maintaining "real world" jobs in addition to being in the band, Primordial's touring remains thin on the ground, despite another excellent and successful album, so it's no wonder a rare London headlining show is well attended, albeit not sold out, and the crowd response immediately showed fans would rather they were around a little more often.

With their style being so unique, and bringing together so many different influences, the Irishmen can often find it difficult to be part of a touring bill where they actually fit. Which would explain the somewhat mismatched line-up for these couple of UK shows featuring black metallers Winterfylleth opening and special guests NWOBHM revivalists Hell.

Where Hell are concerned though, their live show is so good they can be successful in front of just about any metal crowd, and although they had 10-15 minutes cut from their advertised set time, they barely paused for breath as they rolled out every track but two from their brilliant debut album Human Remains and eccentric front-man David Bower provided a constantly entertaining focal point while enthusiastic guitarists Kev Bower and superstar producer Andy Sneap ripped out riffs and solos with disturbing ease.

But whatever Hell could do, Primordial could do too, or rather front-man Alan Averill could do, as they took to the stage at full speed barely half an hour later. Actually, at least in such cramped confines, the rest of the band don't get involved too much in the movement stakes, probably for fear of getting in Averill's way as he has more energy on stage than the rest combined. Just like Bower, Averill is a constantly engaging front-man who genuinely leads from the front and puts all the effort he can muster into the show. The setlist took a strange order, bumping ready-made opener No Grave Deep Enough, which does indeed open new album Redemption At The Puritan's Hand, down to third and instead starting out with Lain With The Wolf from the same disc, but the crowd didn't seem to mind.

They weren't however so forgiving regarding the venue's early curfew for the benefit of a club night afterwards, and unfortunately the rarely played Gods To The Godless had to be dropped from the encore (which they didn't even leave the stage for as time ran short) and if more people had known that it was meant to be played there might have been louder complaints. As it was, when the band charged through Heathen Tribes and popular classics The Coffin Ships and intended encore closer Empire Falls everyone was left in high spirits, even if it wasn't 10pm yet.

Perhaps it is Primordial's prolonged absences from the stage that brings their fans out with such enthusiasm when they do play shows, but either way they do seem to be blessed with audiences who can match Averill's energy down to every bead of sweat, and for a band whose music is as complex and divergent as Primordial, that's some achievement.

“ Averill is a constantly engaging front-man ”

Hell setlist: Let Battle Commence / On Earth As It Is In Hell / Plague And Fyre / The Quest / The Oppressors / The Devil's Deadly Weapon / Macbeth / Save Us From Those Who Would Save Us

Primordial setlist: Lain With The Wolf / Autumn's Ablaze / No Grave Deep Enough / Gallows Hymn / Bloodied Yet Unbowed / As Rome Burns / The Mouth of Judas / Heathen Tribes / The Coffin Ships / Empire Falls

Photo(s): Andy Lye

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2012, Albums, Black Metal, Gigs,

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