I grew up outside Boston surrounded by Irish-American kids named Sully and Patrick. Even though my last name was McKee, I was different. I was told that my ancestors were MacKays from Scotland who migrated to Ireland and changed their name to McKee to avoid discrimination. I read Scottish folk tales, fantasized about competing in the Highland Games, and seriously considered getting a kilt. I tracked down my tartan, and as a young adult toured Scottish castles and got lost in the moors on my mountain bike. I know this sounds ridiculous coming from a suburban American kid, but Scotland felt like home. Then when I was about 30 I told my dad this story and he just laughed. It turns out while one of my distant relatives was indeed Scottish, the rest of his side of the family was full-blooded Irish. I couldn’t believe it. I like U2’s early work as much as the next guy, but suddenly I was supposed to embrace St. Patrick’s Day, leprechauns, and the color green?
In the years since, I’ve tried to have an open mind and learn more about my new homeland. It hasn’t come naturally, but I am happy to report that I’ve found a band that seems to have kindled a little bit of Irish pride in me. Primordial was founded in 1987 near Dublin and has released seven albums that are an incredible mixture of epic black metal and Irish folk music. While the instruments are not traditional, many of the melodies are. The lyrics range from wild fantasy to Irish history. The singer (Alan Averil) is amazing–you feel exactly what he’s feeling.
I found Primordial through the Requiem Metal Podcast where you can listen to a two part episode about the band and hear several of their songs. They have truly unique sound that really speaks to me. Maybe I’ll wear green tomorrow.