British black Metal outfit Primitive Graven Image were formed in 2006 by guitarist brothers Rob 'Ljosalfur' and Luke 'Dokkalfur' Lehane and 'Traversing The Awesome Night', originally released by Open Grave Records, the album that put them on the black Metal map, was first released in 2007.
Due to the popularity of their two more recent releases, 'Celebrating Impending Chaos' and 'Psychedelic Episodes', both of which were released on their own label, they a have now re issued 'Traversing The Awesome Night' on their own label also.
The added bonus is that this time around it comes with additional material in the shape of the six tracks from 'Hellish Figurines', the band's original demo release from 2006.
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The tracks on both these early releases were recorded when the now quartet only consisted of just Rob and Luke. The best aspect of the album for me are the vocals, rasping, vitriolic and typifying all that I want from good black Metal vocals; it also has got that great "the band are playing in the room next door" sound.
The first ten tracks are from the 'Traversing The Awesome Night' album, which opens magnificently with 'Bringer Of Dark And Light', the guitar sound has that tinny, twanging rattle that is so great about and typifies the sound of early black Metal; it reminded me of Burzum.
The other standout tracks are 'None Shall Stand', with its fast intense tempo and crashing cymbals, 'Design', which has a fabulous, plodding black Metal rhythm, 'Fear And Fire' a slow sinister building track but it's not long before the pace runs away out of control just like a terrifying fire.
'Earth's Wrath' opens on a rasping scream that accompanies the plodding rhythms of this dark hypnotic track. I love the pumping dirty groove to 'Battleride', a head nodder of a track. 'The Shriek Of Death 'is dark and hypnotic with vocals so intense and grating that they grind your soul to a pulp.
The final six tracks are from the demo 'Hellish Figurines'. I am pleased these were added as bonus tracks because although I enjoyed the whole album I liked these tracks slightly more, they have a rawer more primitive feel. The best tracks on this section are; 'The Night Of Dokkalfur And Ljosalfur', an atmospheric, symphonic instrumental opener named after the band founders.
'None Shall Stand' has excellent guitar work as the track opens and before the superb vocals kick in. There is, on this track in particular, a wonderful rawness to the sound and it's awash with crashing cymbals. 'Of What We Have Become' has a hollow, echoing edge; a dark, haunting track.
On 'The Journey To The Forest' I loved the intensity; this is not just an ordinary journey into the forest but one filled with horror and terror, this track features twice as it was also on the first album as well as the demo.
The brothers were inspired to create this out of a love for the traditional black Metal style of bands such as Immortal, Darkthrone and Emperor, as a result it is very much a generic offering of that style of black Metal and although it is not a standout album it is still very atmospheric and listenable with a nice classic feel, and I am very glad it has been rereleased.