Primitive Man/Hexis – Split 10″ (Halo of Flies, 13 May 2014)
Primitive Man – Home is Where the Hatred Is (Relapse Records, 17 February 2015)
Hey, everyone. Today I’ve got two items to discuss with you, involving Denver-based vitriolic sludge-spewers Primitive Man. It seemed like a good time to share these, because I’m excited that they’ll be coming here to Pittsburgh next week. For those of you who live around here, don’t forget you can win a pair of tickets to that show, but today’s post is for everyone no matter where you live.
First will be a split record that Halo of Flies put out two years ago, which pairs the band with Copenhagen natives Hexis. That will be followed by last year’s Home is Where the Hatred Is EP, which ended up with a slot on my Top 15 list. Yesterday I promised a week full of angriness and ugliness. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Each side of the 2014 split record features a song by one of the bands, which in each case is around eight minutes long. The Hexis track has a title that could be appropriate for either band’s contribution to this record (or any of the tracks on the next one we will discuss), as “Excrucio” is a Latin verb, meaning “to torment or torture,” and the root of English words like “excruciating”.
This song is mostly thick and murky blackened doom, with wrenchingly harsh vocals, and indeed very slow-paced (despite the riffs mostly being made up of tremolo-picking). At least, that all describes the first and last several minutes of the song; these two sections bookend a middle part where everything just kind of dies away, and all that’s left is long bursts of sustained feedback with sporadic snare hits (and even more sporadic full band unison hits) punctuating the expansive emptiness.
The Primitive Man side, “When Getting High is Not Enough,” happens to include a similar minimalistic section, with staccato full band hits occuring at regular intervals — less feedback, though, but with loads of fuzz and amp noise reverberating in between. Elsewhere, there are a few bits where the band plays with the tempo: in one spot a tremoloey-blackened lead guitar part hovers over a slowly meandering bassline, while later the whole band quickens, with double-time drums and stuff, coming across more like blackened hardcore. But for the most part, this track is also excruciatingly slow (natch), with deep barked vocals, and slow heavy-sludge riffs.
Okay, if you’re still with us, brace yourself for Primitive Man‘s primal, hellish four-track 2015 release — which they refer to as an EP, but the songs (ranging from four to eleven minutes) end up spanning about half an hour worth of terrifying aural abuse. The longest of these, opener “Loathe,” uses a slowly driving motion in the drums/bass with layers of tremoloy/feedbacky guitars, to build up tension over the first minutes, seemingly leading up to something rather ominous. When the vocals enter, they are a deep roar. As the track goes on, things occasionally turn rather hectic and frantic, where it becomes hard to tell sometimes what’s even happening. But definitely a whole bunch of noise and roaring (there might not even be any actual words much of the time — honestly it’s hard to say).
The beginning of “Downfall” is the only place you’ll find hints of a quicker tempo — the song starts off with more of a punk-metal beat, complete with crunchy guitars and growled yelling. But following a brief flirtation with blastbeats and chaos, it gives way to more sustained feedback and tortured howling; painfully, dreadfully slow over the remainder of the song. “Bag Man” is basically an extension of the latter part of the preceding track: ultra-slow, ultra-heavy, gut-punching sludge. But the band isn’t nearly finished punishing their listeners yet: “A Marriage with Nothingness” consists almost exclusively of feedback and noise, numerous layers of guitar noise, and random cries of pain — all of which intensifies significantly over the length of this four-plus minute track.
You can check out videos for two of the EP’s four songs below, with the simple disclaimer:
NOT. SAFE. FOR. WORK.
The 10″ split record has sold out, but you can still listen and download using the Bandcamp player below. Home is Where the Hatred Is can be previewed using the second Bandcamp player, and it’s available to buy here.
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