Primitive Graven Image – Hellish Figurines

primitivegraven_120306_hellEngland’s Primitive Graven Image strikes me as the black metal influenced counterpart to their labelmates, Downlord, as this 2 piece is moderately effective at emulating their desired musical genre of choice, but lost site of writing songs with any sort of merit or meaning. Riffs come and go, often sounding out of place sitting next to each other both in feeling and in note selection. “The Night of Dokkalfur & Ljosalfur” begins with some impressive guitar work and over all technical proficiency, which quickly decays into painfully simplistic power chord dominant riffs that go in very predictable directions. I can appreciate minimalism as long as there is substance, or a truly dense or otherworldly atmosphere communicated through the dissonance, but Primitive Graven Image strike me as yet very rudimentary in their songwriting ideas. The album comes off very 2 dimensional, even boring, as if the band has overlooked something important when writing this material. I might add… the thin overall production or equally poor drum machine tone isn’t solely to blame for this feeling. “The Journey to the Forest” (track 4) finally offers a bit of spirit in the form of the cult aesthetic ala Gorgoroth, where a fast riff effectively stirs the feelings of loss and dismay with its repetitive nature, but the note selection seems to find the missing link, the “IT” that I feel is missing on this album. The final song on “Hellish Figurines”, “Blood Red Heart” actually finds this band ending on a positive note where they seem to have found a bit of originality by way of an old school black metal vibe, piling on the creep with a haunting guitar harmony and a pulsing push in the verse riffs that puts me in mind of the twisted satanic might found in “Worship Him” era Samael, or even the early 90’s satanic Brazilian scene. This inclusion is definitely encouraging, and I like the burnt out/tortured midrange in the vocals throughout this album, but it comes far too late in saving this forgettable listening experience. – Marty
OPEN GRAVE RECORDS

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~ by martyworm on January 3, 2009.

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