Primal Dawn - The Euthanasia Programme
Blackened Death/Thrash Metal
3 songs (25:00)
Release year: 2002
Primal Dawn
Reviewed by Crims

Last week I reviewed a promo EP from Italy’s Kiss Of Death. Previously, has reviewed unsigned bands such as Citadel and Misery Inc. who have really made an impression on me. Citadel now has a record deal and I heard that Misery Inc. did as well. The point is, is that there seems to be a plethora of talented bands with a lot of potential in the unsigned market and I can officially say that Primal Dawn can be added to that list.

Primal Dawn are from Ireland and consist of John McGhee on vocals and bass; David Comiskey and Patrick Kennedy on guitars; and Jason Connolly on drums. Much like Kiss Of Death, the quality of the production is very impressive, and that’s not just for an unsigned band, but for any band in general. Musically the band is rooted in Black Metal but they take a modern approach to the sound and throw in some Blackened Death/Thrash riffs and drumming as well. The result is one of the more unique new bands I’ve heard in the last while. Influences seem to range from mid-period Mayhem, Immortal, Absu, Death and country-mates, Primordial. So you can imagine that Primal Dawn have a lot to work with and change up their sound often.

There are three songs on The Euthanasia Programme; however, each is around 7 to 8 minutes long. At first, I was under the impression that Primal Dawn should tone down their songs a bit. In other words, I figured they would benefit from writing more concise 4-minute songs, as opposed to almost progressive 8-minute epics. With repeated listens though, I came to the conclusion that the long songs do work in Primal Dawn’s favor. The problem was, when I first listened to this, the CD did not have my full attention, and the songs seemed like a jumbled mess that didn’t really have a direction. Once I sat down and gave the CD my full attention I started to see where each piece of the Primal Dawn puzzle fell into place. Primal Dawn move from influence to influence, and use varied song writing approaches in individual songs, so this isn’t something you would use as background music, because chances are you just won’t appreciate it fully. The first song, Behold: The Man is my favorite. The lyrics revolve around anti-Christian themes and are very well written in my opinion; I really enjoyed this aspect of the song. The music goes from fast, to very fast, to atmospheric, to ultra fast and features everything from Blackened Thrash riffs, pure Black Metal blasphemy, and Death styled, strangely melodic guitar sections. As with all the songs, the vocals range from a nicely done, somewhat deep harsh style, to a more traditional Black Metal style that is mainly used over the parts that are the most Black Metal sounding. The phrasing is inventive and fits with the music suitably in all three songs and I have no complaints in the vocal department. The other songs feature the same style of pacing but feature more straight Black Metal elements, with Cold Hills containing the most aspects of Primordial’s sound, including one vocal passage where McGhee uses a clean singing style almost exactly like what’s used in Primordial. Despite not lasting for long, the passage gave an interesting atmosphere to the song and I would like to hear the band experiment more with occasional clean vocals in the vein of Primordial.

To touch on the production again: it is more than acceptable, and is not typical for a Black Metal influenced band at all. As opposed to sounding hollow and dank, the sound is in your face and has more in common with a typical Death Metal band. Even the bass is upfront and I must say that McGhee does an admirable job behind the 4-stringer, with some breaks just featuring bass and drums (something you would almost never hear in a straight Black Metal band). Also, the drums sound a lot like they did on Winds Of Creation from Decapitated. For those unfamiliar with that CD: the bass is powerful and the snare has a certain pop that never gets drowned out by the low-end. Likewise, the drumming performance is impressive and features a lot of double bass, fills, and a fair share of blast beats when appropriate. Even though there are some Black Metal moments, the drumming has more in common with Death/Thrash Metal bands, and that further gives the band an interesting balance of Black Metal and dark Death/Thrash.

When it comes down to it, Primal Dawn has a lot of potential. They’re taking some real chances here by combining a lot of different elements into their music and having very long songs in an era where a lot of listeners have short attention spans (their loss if you ask me) Of course, this is yet another band I feel deserves a record contract on shear song writing potential alone. I have almost zero complaints with this demo/EP, however, I just hope Primal Dawn didn’t pour all their good song writing ideas into these 3 songs and then have nothing left for anything else. Granted, there were some filler riffs here and there but considering the facts- long songs, young band, unsigned- this can be forgiven, but, if Primal Dawn want to make a really large lasting impression they'll need to continue to mature and sharpen their song writing skills to compete in major label Metal market.

Killing Songs :
Behold: The Man, Cold Hills
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