Having existed for six years now, black metal/ambient project Old Forgotten Lands seem to have much less popularity than they deserve. Although much of their music solely relies on atmospheric, natural sounds crafted from wildlife and the most eerie-sounding of folk-related instruments, the project’s second album “Primal” offers quite an authentic approach to creating music that is as raw and natural as it could possibly get. Although originally slated for a mid-2011 release, “Primal” suffered from delays in label finances and a long wait for album artwork, and after a split recording with Ancient Tundra in 2009, it seems that the project is finally making waves in the underground world of ambient music.
“Primal” mostly suffers from the fact that its first half is nowhere near as engaging as its second. The opening three songs unfortunately don’t come across as complete compositions and instead seem like quite an uncomfortable mix of field recordings and odd atmospheric effects which are barely audible when placed in the background. ‘Song Of The Dens’ and ‘A Revelation Of Obscured Stars’ simply rely on repetitive guitar rhythms and thundering drum beats, yet even with the inclusion of such otherworldly folk instruments as the bodhran and porcelain amongst others, it still feels as if something is missing. The ever-long ‘Renewal Neverending…’ suffers from being overdrawn and although there is much more to the atmosphere than on the album’s first three songs, the listener can become weary very quickly and simply skip to the next track.
However, as the first half does come across as somewhat incomplete, the second half is filled with delights. From the quirkiness of ‘Lakewood’ to the last few seconds of the largely ambitious ‘Atop The Mystic Mountain’, there is much to indulge in. It is the monumental collaboration of folk instruments in songs such as ‘Lakewood’ and ‘Death Of An Estranged Earth’ that helps Old Forgotten Lands’ natural intentions to become fully realized. Timpani, tambourine and violin alongside effects from the field recordings involving sticks, stones and vines all play their part in what is essentially a very impressive set of songs to give the second half of “Primal” a very varied and adaptable mixture of authentic music. The longest song, ‘Death Of An Estranged Earth’, may prove exhaustive for some, but with growing patience and thought the song eventually becomes just as successful and ambitious as, say, Burzum’s ‘Tomhet’. There are also several guest musicians that perform in their own significant way on “Primal”, in particular the vocal effects, which although not always clearly audible against the seemingly endless barrage of atmospheric sounds, do add to the general consistency of the album. The main highlight as well as the album’s focal point is indeed ‘Old Forgotten Lands’, which serves as both a perfect representation of what the project seeks to achieve as well as a summary of what “Primal” sets out to do.
“Primal” may only be majorly successful in its second half, given that the first half sounds somewhat incomplete and unnecessary, but with the help of such awe-inspiring musical transitions in ‘Lakewood’ and ‘Death Of An Estranged Earth’, Old Forgotten Lands has certainly achieved whatever ambitions it originally had. If the project continues to focus on performing ambient and atmospheric sounds of this quality, then it will surely go on to exceed its achievements and expectations in a very “natural” way.
1.Hour Of The Wolves
2.Song Of The Dens
3.A Revelation Of Once Obscured Stars
4. Renewal Neverending…
5. …With Each Prevailing Wind
7. Old Forgotten Lands
8. Death Of An Estranged Earth
9. Risen Tide
10. Atop The Mystic Mountain
Video link ‘Hour Of The Wolves’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIkjzS-bxC4