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Prime Mover "Under The Penumbra" Album Review!


There's something about metal hailing from Atlanta and its outskirts (such as Morrow) that gets my blood pumping. There's a little of everything in the area. You want thrash? You got it. Death metal? Done. Black metal? No problem. PRIME MOVER has its own style of black metal that doesn't follow the well-trodden path that the majority of bands in that genre follow. Instead, there's an intensity that only Atlanta-area bands can offer. There's a tad of post black metal mixed with a very faint hint of sludge combined with a slight pinch of doom that metamorphoses into a new sound of black metal rising from the ashes of old.

Since 1998, there've been a shitload of demos and singles, but only one album ("When Dreams Of Death Are Euphoric") before 2020's "Under The Penumbra". But we can just assume they were perfecting their craft during all those years. And fuck if it paid off in spades.

Their second full-length opens with 'The Mask That Laughs', an immense burst of blazing energy that lets us know that they're not fucking around. Joshua Rogers' vocals squelch and scream in a raspy, bloodthirsty voice as Alan Strange and Hollis Keith deliver riff after ever-changing riff. Jonathan Balsamo pounds the drums as if heralding an upcoming onslaught. 'Serpent Seed' trudges along in its filth in a mid-paced track as 'Easy prey' is an orgy of guitar bliss.

There's almost an epic sound to 'Where Paradise Is Buried' that bleeds into a track that could've expelled from 80's power metal, which is an accomplishment to have this fit snugly between the blackened sound of the other tracks. 'Kindred Oath: Today The Night Is Ours' brings it right back to the dark sanctity of their actual genre. Black metal vocals permeate the atmosphere with rumbling riffs and blast beats that kick in the door and throttle the peons within. And then, out of the fucking blue comes a cover of Alice Cooper's 'I'm Eighteen'. And somehow it works, goddammit.

Somehow, PRIME MOVER pull it off. 'Thanaspherian' encompasses a wide array of riffs and changes that swirl and shudder along with an out of kilter drumming before erupting into a more straightforward metal assault. But the band throws in a few twists and turns to keep us on the heel of our steel-toed shitkickers. 'Awaiting The Arrival' and 'Under The Penumbra' end the album with tracks they easily could've opened with.

This COVID shit can't end quick enough. I need live metal and PRIME MOVER needs to play so close to me that I get kicked in the face sonically and physically.


- David Simonton

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