Harsh and Terrifying
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.