Primitive Graven Image: Psychedelic Episodes

British black metallers look to the stars

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With their Facebook advertising, somewhat cartoony aesthetic and a upbeat stage demeanour that is more Immortal than Watain, Primitive Graven Image are perhaps understandably not amongst the acts most favoured by the notoriously conservative and hostile UK black metal underground.

That’s probably unlikely to change given the group’s overt second wave black metal approach – not particularly in vogue at a time of black thrash retrospection and post-black experimentalism – but that’s a great shame as Psychedelic Episodes is both an enjoyable, dynamic and well thought-out opus.

As the album’s title and spacey cover art suggests, the band’s third album bears a notable progressive and psychedelic streak, although in truth this element is not overwhelming, with astral synths really only adding colour to what is essentially a classic 90s sound. And the phrase ‘classic’ is not used lightly – there’s a fine line between the mediocre and the memorable in this genre and that comes down to powerful and emotive songwriting, an area in which PGI genuinely excel, with emotive and epic discordance tempered by an occasional Bathory-like stomp.