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Jason Roeder Would be Proud! - 90%

dystopia4, December 6th, 2017

This split sees Primitive Man and Hessian team up for Hypertension Record's The Abyss Stares Back series in which a Belgian band joins forces with a band they along with the record label admire. I checked this out for Primitive Man and was surprised that the random band I've never heard of before actually put forth the best effort. Make no mistake, though, Primitive Man fucking kills it. While not particularly long, this is a split well worth your time.

Hessian reminds me a lot of Herder in how they use crusty hardcore as a springboard to explore a vast array of styles. If we want to get nerdy about genre descriptions, the first half of "Inward Dawn" could probably be best described as blackened epic crust. However, they lurch into doomier territory and even blast off into psychedelic cosmic territory. I dunno if they've been jamming a lot of Neurosis or Tool or whatever, but they fucking love that epic tom-tom drum style (and thankfully so do I). They use it in both halves of the song, but the second half essentially turns into a massive hypnotic drum jam with these eerie deep chants eventually entering the fold. It's not as good as "Cleanse" but it's actually not that far away in terms of quality; certainly one of the best tribal drum jams I've heard in heavy music. "Inward Dawn" is jaw-droppingly awesome and I'm excited to check out more from these guys.

Primitive Man is surprisingly not the highlight of the split, but it's Primitive Man so it still kicks a colossal amount of ass. Their trademark soul-swallowing post-apocalyptic sludge is as heavy as devastating as it ever was, and this is actually one of the more interesting songs I've heard from them. A good portion of the song is in their usual strung-out antisocial sludge mode, slowly trudging over everything in their path - truly misanthropic shit. I dunno if this was planned to coincide with Hessian or what but around the 5 minute mark they burst into this sick elephantine tribal drum jam that sounds ripped straight out of Through Silver in Blood. The drums are accompanied by howling distortion and soon a gargantuan sluggish bass line. As the song proceeds, the bass line persists and we are treated to lingering psychedelic guitar tones before the whole thing implodes with a last gasp of demented hardcore.

I gotta say, this is one of the best splits I've heard in a while. If you don't mind your sludge/crust/hardcore/whatever a bit heady, drop everything and give 'er a spin.