Rising Canadian Technical Death Metal act Scorn released their new album, A Comedic Tragedy, earlier in 2020 to strong reviews. The album was produced by Steven Rowlands and Alex Snape of Nomadic Media. Today the band teams with Ghost Cult to share a new guitar playthrough for the track ‘A Lack of Communication’, which you can watch right here! Continue reading
Boston sludge/doom band Morne are swiftly approaching the release of their new album, To The Night Unknown on September 7th via the Armageddon Label. The band has shared a new single today, ‘Scorn’ which you can jam out to on the link below. Continue reading
If this place does indeed close later this year, there will be mixed feelings. Despite the incredible sound few, least of all photographers, appreciate the subterranean levels of darkness; even less are fond of the bloody great pillar obliterating the view of a third of the stage.
Backing up last year’s highly-rated début album Dormiveglia (Church of Fuck Records), Barnsley’s Trudger opened proceedings with a seriously impressive showing. Vocalist Chris Parkinson prowled the apron, his back to the crowd, his cavernous roar coating the irresistible blend of Hardcore, Sludge and Post atmospherics in murky phlegm.
Full of amusing anecdotes during their soundcheck, Brighton Funeral Sludgers Sea Bastard’s monstrous tales of horror are nevertheless fed from a natural gravitas: opening track ‘Door Sniffer’ a titanic weight upon the strongest shoulders, vocalist Monty’s demeanour at the coda both static and electric. The crowd were transfixed by the plummeting, sparing chords and funereal weight of recent split contribution ‘Astral Rebirth’: an implosive, eviscerating mass, shrinking heads with its unfathomable power. Skyscraping guitarist Oli Irongiant’s heavily-tattooed torso rocked and swayed as bassist Steve Patton knelt in studious, faraway contemplation of the sheer expanse of sound; whilst the scything, slashing coda was both brutal yet swaddled in the band’s collective confidence and ruthless execution. There will be few more impressive tracks this year, and there’s arguably no more involving, crushing UK act at present.
When your shoulders begin to ache and your balls quiver in their home, you know you’re witnessing something unspeakably affecting. Surrounding each other like they’re the only people who know just how they feel, Denver trio Primitive Man laid pure fucking waste to the venue. Colossal rhythm section Jon Campos and ‘Spy’ threatened the City’s architecture; while frontman Ethan McCarthy’s febrile tension was palpable, biting his guitar strings during horrific opener ‘4330’, the infamous bark like no vocal emission I’ve previously encountered. ‘Bag Man’ is utterly terrifying, every word of McCarthy’s tirade flung from his face with honest feeling, the power almost unbearable yet strangely cathartic and enlivening. ‘Antietam’, a microcosm of despairing misanthropy on record, was vomited forth with heartfelt malcontent, leaving those of us who’ve experienced such issues twitching, pounding monitors and shaking our heads in awe-struck wonder. ‘Loathe’ sealed the lid on a cacophonic show of mortifying power and untrammelled bitterness. Transcendent in a painful, shocking way, Primitive Man are unmissable.
WORDS BY PAUL QUINN
The calm, traditional setting of Manchester’s Crown and Anchor suits the affable off-stage demeanour of Primitive Man vocalist Ethan McCarthy, and Sea Bastard guitarist Oli Irongiant. Strange for two men whose bands purvey some of the most brutal, Sludge-based horror around today. Before resuming their joint UK tour in the City, we spoke candidly about the tour itself and their forthcoming dual ‘split’.
How did the tour come about?
Oli: We became good friends last year when my other band, War Wolf, supported Primitive Man in Brighton. Ethan stayed at our house…
Ethan: After I returned home Oli sent me some Sea Bastard stuff. We really liked it, so we talked about doing a joint tour.
You both have a pulverising, malevolent sound. How does that translate to the live setting?
Oli: It’s always more visceral live, and it fits really low in the mix which I love. It’s like hearing somebody screaming in a hailstorm.
Ethan: ‘Visceral’ is the perfect word to describe it. You definitely feel it a lot more than you would on a recording. I guess I reach those vocal levels because I smoke a lot! I’m just trying to make it sound how I’m feeling.
Both bands are pretty prolific, and it’s Primitive Man’s second visit to the UK inside a year. How do you afford it financially, and do you have time for a private life?
Ethan: All three Primitive Man members have regular day jobs, so we’re just saving our money to help us do this thing we love. The experience of getting out there, meeting people, sharing our art…
Oli: None of us will come away from this tour with any money to spend, even on new equipment. We’re doing it because we love playing music. We’re ‘Lifers’ I guess. With such negative music, it’s cathartic for us as well as the audience: getting rid of horrible thoughts in this impulsive, intense setting. It’s the best feeling in the world. I’ve been working hard all year, and this is my holiday!
Ethan: I get rid of all my frustrations playing live. It does mess with your private life though. Sometimes your employer’s not OK with the extended time off work. It’s a tricky thing to balance, although my wife is very supportive. But I have to do it. I couldn’t live my life without knowing that I had something like this coming up.
Oli: I’d go crazy without it. A lot of the guys suffer from different kinds of depression, and there are demons we all need to get out. This is our release.
When can we look forward to your joint ‘split’ disc coming out?
Ethan: We recorded our two tracks the week before we came out here. I feel they’re the most pissed-off things we’ve ever done. Our other stuff is angry and dark, but these songs are super-fucking-mad. I feel they’re a little bit different to much of our other stuff. They’ll be mastered within the month, so then we’ll start talking to some labels.
Oli: I’ve just heard the unmastered versions and they’re so fucking heavy, I can’t imagine what it’s going to sound like with the bass turned up! We’re contributing one track, but it’s going to be the longest thing we’ve ever done, with some of our heaviest, fastest and slowest sections yet. I can’t wait.
You both write some pretty nasty stuff. Where does it come from?
Ethan: A lot of my stuff comes from the American Experience: the police, being disenfranchised in coming from the slums, and personal issues such as depression. So I’m writing about life experiences really.
Oli: We use nightmarish fantasy elements to deal with some heavy shit; metaphors for how we’re feeling. We all deal with depression on a daily basis, and our music is our catharsis. I’ve been through a lot of shit in my life; I feel that contributes to me liking the heavy side of things.
Ethan: Who can’t relate to beasts and evil characters, y’know?!
Amen to that. Those live shows were utterly monstrous, and the forthcoming ‘split’ promises to further both bands’ reputation as fearsome, crushing purveyors of real issues that we all deal with.
WORDS BY PAUL QUINN
Abstract is the new brutal. The principal focus of Extreme Metal has always been to make music that sounds as violent or destructive as possible, but over the last couple of years a growing number of bands in different sub-genres have embraced a more subtle approach. Whether it’s Gnaw Their Tongues and their followers blending Black Metal with Noise elements, Blut Aus Nord embracing dissonance or Portal deconstructing familiar Death Metal into something totally other, it’s becoming more common to encounter Extreme Metal which doesn’t so much punch your face as make you doubt its existence.
Primitive Man are one of a current circle of bands – Sea Bastard, Keeper and Indian among their peers – engaged in stripping so-called “Sludge”, that ugly child of Punk and Black Sabbath, of its Blues influences and sense of groove and focussing entirely on its capacity for bleakness and discomfort, and are arguably the leaders in their circle when it comes to abstraction. Home Is Where The Hatred Is (Relapse) continues from their independent debut album Scorn with thirty minutes of abstract rhythms, broken chords and growled vocals that steadfastly refuse to describe anything as uplifting or recognisable as a riff. It’s a thick, genuinely unsettling morass of noise and almost ambient amp abuse, and when they do allow themselves a brief moment of Grind-fuelled violence at the start of Downfall it’s almost a relief – though one that’s rapidly overtaken as the song collapses once again into dissonance and atmospherics. There are similarities to Khanate, of course, in their use of dissonance and unorthodox song structures, but as their name would suggest they seem less artful and refined, more… well… primitive.
It is extremely difficult to criticise HIWTHI, not because it’s without flaws, but because any apparent weaknesses (tracks blurring into another; the lack of satisfying climax; the sense of dislocation and frustration that pervades) are so obviously the result of very deliberate choices by the band. They’re not bugs, to borrow from the clichés of IT, but features. This isn’t the dirty, angry Rock ‘n Roll of Eyehategod or Iron Monkey, and it doesn’t seek to press the same buttons – this is genuinely ugly, unsatisfying, dissonant music from a band who aren’t interested in catharsis or making you rock out.
From the get-go, Primitive Man thrusts the listener into the black mire known as Scorn. This re-release on Relapse Records is a damningly heavy release, full of wretchedness; a wide spread of monolithic riffs and sludge induced tones. There is no sunlight where this album goes: it only keeps going down further into the dark. Continue reading