Primitive Man

Ugly, brutish, and oppressive, Scorn has all the ingredients to be great. Primitive Man’s combination of d-beat crust, sludge, and crippling doom is a combination after my heart and they show a tremendous amount of potential with this release. Its aesthetic is almost grind-like, feeling like a Benümb album without any blast beats. There are a number of absolutely punishing moments overall and the two ambient/noise tracks, which sometimes feel like afterthoughts, are incredibly well conceived, but the album could use some tidying up and would benefit from shorter songs.

Primitive Man is at their best when putting teeth rattling mid-tempo sludge similar to the Abominable Iron Sloth or Black Sheep Wall. Clinging to the Trees of a Forest Fire’s Ethan McCarthy provides an abrasive throaty roar as the buzzing guitars seesaw between droning doom passages, crusty charges, and sludgy outbursts. Opening track “Scorn” provides their template, opening with punishing grind-sludge and a crusty hardcore blowout before they slide on down the doom ladder creeping slower and slower with a coda bathed in dead air and feedback. “Antietam” has a really excellent aggressive break in the middle of its second half droning doom and the opening of “Rags” is a bludgeoning bit of filthy sludge guaranteed to put a dent in your head.

The atmosphere they create is impressive. Dark, immense, and oppressive as hell, it’s accented and heightened by two rather excellent ambient/noise tracks; “Black Smoke and “I Can’t Forget”. The undulating rhythmic pulse of “Black Smoke” is coated in a haunting choir-like drift. “I Can’t Forget” builds on clattering percussion, processed vocals, and distant guitar tones, sounding like the soundtrack from the band’s underground torture chamber.

But with the good come the bad and I’m afraid Scorn suffers the doom. Droning doom passages dominate many of the songs and tend to drift on a little too long. Some of the slow riffs feel ill defined, as though the notes aren’t connected to each other. The doom/drone passages work better as accents, like on “Rags”, rather than as centerpieces, as on “Antietam” and the last half of “Scorn”. As such there’s a meandering tendency to the songs that undercuts the immediacy and violence of the aggressive portions. Still, for fans of aggressive sludge like Bowel and Black Sheep Wall, Scorn will hit the spot like a leaden brick, Primitive Man breaking your face as easily as they’ll drown you in feedback. It may not be perfect, but it’s a damn fine start.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Chuck Kucher
March 5th, 2013


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