Primitive Powers


German duo Beehoover is comprised of bassist/vocalist Ingmar Petersen and drummer/vocalist Claus-Peter Hamisch.  The gruesome twosome toyed around with the idea of having a guitar player early on in their career but based on the serpentine progressive shades, full-force riff rocking and kraut-rock prog/psychedelia heard on their underground classics The Sun Behind the Dustbin, Heavy Zooo (my personal favorite) and The Devil and his Footmen…they don’t really have any need for a guitarist.  Ingmar has so many seismic riffs, thick grooves, heartfelt melodies and bleary-eyed texture freak-outs across the band’s discography that a 6-string axeman is practically an obsolete commodity for their sound and when bolted to the shifty, fill-intensive time-keeping surgery of Hamisch, there’s more than enough going on to hold attention spans at gunpoint.  If you took the big power fuzz riffs of Kyuss, Obsessed, Colour Haze and Spirit Caravan ran ‘em through a rumbling meatgrinder of Godheadsilo, Rebreather and Hammerhead’s bass heavy blades while unleashing the quirks of Zappa, Primus, early Ash Ra Tempel and Amon Düül II on the band’s noisy, pasty post-mangled pulp, welljust let this theoretical ideology breathe a bit and you’ll begin to understand what the Beehoover sound is all about.

Opener “Pissant Wings” explains the two-piece’s doctrine succinctly and savagely; an off-time, off-kilter riff bumping elbows with a beat of the same persuasion before the desert-baked kraut fuzz stretches into an unholy intimidating shape of catchy, molten high energy doom riffing backed by increasingly manic tom/snare fill transitions.  The groove here’s got all the tense, frayed nerve impulses of a top-tier Am-Rep noise rock band but the hazy blues tonalities phase into ungodly, overdriven doom riffs that are soaked in psilocybin and Wino.  Crushing freedom grooves call for the liberation of the mind-controlled populace, while open melodic strumming and ethereal vocals hint at the experimental genius of early 70s German psychedelic mind frizzle pioneers.  Petersen’s obtuse narrations have often been a point of division over the band’s potential fans, but personally I love the guy’s Zappa-esque, who gives a fuck mentality and his melodies are unique when stacked against a mob of soundalike stoner bands.  Spoken word and angry shouts trade-off with the lager-fueled melodies, perhaps the work of drummer Claus-Peter and the song doesn’t overstay its welcome as it changes position more than a desert oasis in the midst of a heatstroke hallucination.

“Bombs & Bagpipes” pairs a punk-fucked bass lick with snarky snare syncopation making the tune’s initial groove catchy yet hard to get a bead on.  Sandpaper scraped, single chord riff scrapes wash the steady percussive enforcement in an atmosphere of ashy, nuclear fallout with quick swipes of dirty, crusty doom riffing and raucous spitfire vocals only leveling the landscapes further.  The juxtaposition between sludgy death throes and anti-music minimalism crafts a Jekyll/Hyde persona to the music that makes exact comparisons hard to come by.  Complaints have sometimes been levied towards Ingmar’s clean vocals in the past (though I’ve always loved ‘em) but this time around his somber, confident melodies ache with low key malice as a sludgy riff undercuts their presence; soon leading to minor-key noise scrape melodies, free-form snare smacks and cymbal ghosting and grumbling spoken word.  3:54 ushers in an infectious, tough as railroad spikes staccato (and surprisingly melodic/catchy) doom riff bludgeon that’s pounded into place with piston-like precision in a barrage of locked-on snare fills, flashbang blinding tom rolls and generally psychotic time-keeping that changes the tempo and manic energy every other measure.

A desert-stranded, generator riff party fills the early goings of “Millwheels of Being” with virile Man’s Ruin menace; the drums billowing into a pulsating, tribal polyrhythm that sonically nuke everything in plainview.  Beehoover were always masters of repetition and they know when they’ve got a part good enough going that they can repeat it as much as they damn well please.  Eventually chugging, bong-smoked thrash chords take hold as echoing vocals and hammering, 8-armed beats drill the groove into the brain like a murderous mental mantra.  Chunky, detuned downshifts into doom lend additional weight yet the forward progression of this manic stoner arrangement constantly plows onward for a stroke-inducing tension seizure.  The ugly, blood drooling acrobatic sludge soon sinks into clean, unplugged bass lines with a heightened sense of melodic vocal awareness that turns the tides from ship-wrecking turbulence to a water-treading calm.  Here the band are given ample opportunity to work their layer building magic; a ringing, bone-dry riff melody creating beautifully ominous dissonance before a mutinous, incessantly grinding doom riff forces its listeners to walk the plank without being bothered to handout the audience lifejackets.  These are the kind of jarring changes that Tool are capable of but rarely have the cojones to dig into these days.

Intermission track “Tickling the Dragon’s Tail” is a derelict lighthouse beaming feedback, simulated whale sounds, sparse drone riffs, whirlpool pedal FX and submerged melodic vocals.  Unlike a lot of short album tracks meant to break up a record’s flow and give the listener a rest, this psychedelic noise-trip fits in well with the rest of the material.  The sea itself seems to be a recurring element throughout this album and the samples of breaking waves, seagulls and nautical keyboard drones provides “Embers” calm before a storm of coral crushing, stop/start doom riffs, melodic vocal caterwauls and anxious drum pounding.  Initial meth-twitch time changes finally find a port of call to settle at with the song going into a charging salt spray of tidal Am-Rep afflicted doom scurvy where rotten tooth sludge grooves are interjected with coarse drumming complexity that is all over the fuckin’ place in the fine tradition of Tim “Herb” Alexander.  In fact, the entirety of this rock n’ roll, weird-out circus feels like a sludge-stuffed, noise-infected take on Primus’ ragtag quirks.  “Anti Zooo” feels like a return to the flowing megaton riffage of the band’s own classic Heavy Zooo.  Inspired mescaline-dosed riffing remains a constant in your face push akin to Josh Homme’s best work on the first three Kyuss classics but the two-handed, human swatting fills of Hamisch are trickier than Bjork’s best work and these riffs literally never come up for air and constantly batter from the first note to the last while never wasting time or losing track of the groove procession.  You can bang your head frenetically to this stuff or become totally lost in your mind on 8 grams of mushrooms and be happy either way.  Where Beehoover completely distances themselves from Kyuss is the feedback-squelched noise spires, jazzier more playful time changes and the sheer overdriven heaviness that permeates every note.

A rollicking, militant snare march billows beneath a smoggy, thumping bass riff (with higher-end notations that sound like a guitar) giving “Light my Pyre” an abundance of time to engagingly dwell in abyssal atmosphere.  The hymnal vocals conjure up an eerie headspace swimming with lyrics pondering the thought of death.  Swift doom lunges don’t overstay their welcome…lingering long enough to hint that something darker is coming but not showing their hand before the time is right.  As the fury rises, the whip cracks open the Beehoover behemoth’s skin, allowing coagulated disgusting sludge and screams of inhuman pain to come pouring out.  That’s all it takes for the riffing and caffeine-addled percussion to shuck into one of the album’s best grooves; a prowling, speedy burst of ugly distortion that crests on a damnation boogie trembling with rollicking, raucous shape-shifter thrills.  Closer “My Artillery” digs into a slumping, morphine drip doom riff with a beat to match as Petersen half speaks/half croons the words.  Despite a grinding, throat choking pace there’s a twinkle of forlorn, shimmering melancholy behind the arrangement, pumping it full of last leg desperation which I describe as “the beauty of sadness.”  Violent double-tracked vocals couple a sung shout to abrasive screams as they go tumbling across a nascent, sludgy Maryland doom style riff overflowing with melody.  The drumming turns to a busy, bustling maximum density run, again swapping the deliberate pace for something more menacing and meat-cleaved.  This jam really takes you on a ride and as a result ends up as one of the best tunes the Beehoover boys ever cut to tape in the process.

I’ve been a religious follower of this band ever since hearing The Sun behind the Dustbin and Heavy Zooo.  They’ve yet to put out a bad release and are always evolving their audial atrocities from album to album.  It’s hard to pick a favorite but Primitive Powers is my favorite release since the early days and as good as the last two records were, this one easily trumps them from where I’m sitting.  Primitive Powers is going to be taking control of my stereo for a long time to come…it’s a killer that never lets up.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jay S
March 8th, 2016


  1. Commented by: SludgeHammer

    Fantastic review Jay. ‘Heavy Zoo’ is my favourite as well and I had no idea these guys had a new album coming out.

    Some of the reviews on TotD have been a bit brief of late, for my tastes anyway. Great to see an in-depth analysis of a band I really love. Keep up the great work.

  2. Commented by: Jay

    Thanks a ton for the kind words on the review! I really appreciate it. I had no idea this was coming out either until I saw the promo of it. These guys operate fairly quietly and under the radar. They are insanely creative and hit hard as hell.

    I do my best to dig deep with every write-up, so thanks for noticing. Keep it heavy and thanks again!

  3. Commented by: Beehoover

    Thanks for this nice review. If you wanna stay informed check out our facebook and bandcamp sites.
    Hope to see you on our UK tour in September.
    Thanks again
    Claus // BEEHOOVER

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