Harsh and Ter­ri­fy­ing

Exclaim! - - REVIEWS - SARAH MUR­PHY DENISE FALZON

METAL

Prim­i­tive Man

Caus­tic

Den­ver, CO black­ened doom/noise trio Prim­i­tive Man take their dis­tinc­tively dark, ni­hilis­tic heav­i­ness to over­whelm­ingly mis­er­able lev­els with the aptly ti­tled Caus­tic. The much an­tic­i­pated full-length fol­lowup to 2013’s

Scorn — though there were sev­eral splits and 2015 EP,

Home Is Where the Ha­tred Is, in be­tween — sur­passes ex­pec­ta­tions of how de­pres­sive and mis­an­thropic their sound could get. “My Will” sets the haunt­ing, dis­mal tone, start­ing the al­bum off with feed­back-in­duced cor­ro­sive dis­so­nance, as well as slow, crush­ing rhythms. “Vic­tim” picks up the pace, fea­tur­ing more riffs and vi­cious drumming while also main­tain­ing a dis­turb­ing at­mos­phere, as Ethan Lee McCarthy’s vo­cals are as harsh and ter­ri­fy­ing as ever. Al­though un­nerv­ing through­out, Prim­i­tive Man end Caus­tic on an even bleaker note, as the sub­tle, pierc­ing tones of “Ab­so­lutes” leaves on a vibe that lingers long af­ter it’s over. This record is def­i­nitely not for ev­ery­one, but for those who like their doom on the pun­ish­ingly cal­lous and de­spon­dent side, smoth­ered with noise-rid­den dread and bit­ter­ness, this

knows how to rip a ra­zor-sharp riff. Blasts of dis­torted gui­tar wizardry in­ject jar­ringly anx­ious en­ergy into tracks like cen­tre­piece “Los Age­less” and “Fear the Fu­ture.” “Happy Birth­day, Johnny” and “New York,” mean­while, stand out in beau­ti­fully tender con­trast — the for­mer a touch­ing ode to es­tranged fam­ily and the lat­ter a del­i­cate love let­ter to the tit­u­lar city and its in­hab­i­tants. “Young Lover” pairs haunt­ing lyri­cal im­agery of drug over­doses and Paris with a thump­ing beat, swelling in­stru­men­ta­tion and a choral crescendo that leads beau­ti­fully into the three-part come­down that closes the record. Clark promised us “sex and drugs and sad­ness” on MASSEDUCTION, and while that sounds like a

recipe for clichéd dis­as­ter, she kept her word and man­aged to fash­ion a to­tally re­fresh­ing take in the process. (Loma Vista, lo­mav­istarecord­ings.com) POP one’s for you. (Re­lapse, re­lapse.com)

This is a chal­leng­ing al­bum to lis­ten to. Does that cross your mind?

Vo­cal­ist/gui­tarist Ethan Lee McCarthy: Yeah, I know, but I don’t give a shit. This is what I like to play and this is what hap­pens when I write mu­sic. The bands that I re­ally like, not ev­ery­one can get down with be­cause it’s so son­i­cally pun­ish­ing. Do I wish more peo­ple were likely to get into this kind of shit? For sure. But I’m pretty re­al­is­tic about it.

What makes this band so unique?

I guess we’re try­ing to play doom with the same level of anger that a war metal band has or a grind­core band has. But then son­i­cally, we’re slow and down-tuned. I feel like we can fit in with faster bands be­cause we’re just as pissed off as them, but we can fit with slower bands be­cause we play slow. There are not a lot of peo­ple try­ing to play the same kind of doom that we are play­ing. They’re just not go­ing for that su­per-neg­a­tive-ass vibe.

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