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Primitive Man - Scorn (2013) - 90%

Anti_Christ666, December 22nd, 2013

Originally written for Music Talk
Primitive Man is a three-piece sludge/doom trio based out in the open spaces of Colorado, United States. The band tore the scene wide open with their first release, Scorn, and after circulating rapidly throughout the metal community, the band has quickly earned a reputation for their punishing sound that combines sludge and doom metal with elements of noise. Ethan McCarthy, of Clinging to the Trees of a Forest Fire, takes on vocals and guitar, Isidro Soto on drums, and Jonathan Campos completes the lineup on bass. Scorn created numerous waves within the scene within a short amount of time, and I believe it to be one of the best releases from the sludge genre this year. Without further ado, let the dissection begin!

Scorn opens with the title track, an 11 minute ripper that assaults the listeners ears with the unrelenting attack of heavily distorted guitars, powerful drums, and a screeching noise that is always present in the background. The band pummels away, with a fury, during the entire duration of the song, never letting up once to allow the listener some breathing space. The following track, Rags, continues the assault in a similar vein of Scorn, finally allowing the listener to recoup with the track I Can't Forget, a 3 minute song utilizing mostly ambience noise and effects. The break is short lived, however, as the next track, Antietam, once again tears away at the listener in a maniacal fashion. The track begins with a slow, trance-like riff that eventually builds to a speed assault with equally an equally powerful groove. The atmosphere from track to track is one of hatred and destruction, and the songs are very well composed, featuring numerous sections of fast and slow, blast beats and simple grooves, etc. Primitive Man successfully utilize all the tools at their disposal to craft a record of ultimate hatred and misanthropy, a must-have for those individuals with similar world views and ideas. Not a fan of the human hatred topic? Not to fear, Primitive Man still provides the listener with much to pay attention to and enjoy musically.

The album is very well produced, but not overproduced. Everything is clearly audible and everything has it's own space within the final mix. I particularly like the drum sound on this record because it's not overbearingly huge, but it sounds large enough to contribute to the overall heaviness that is Primitive Man. The noise elements within this album are also well mixed. They are not overbearing, irritating, or degrading to the ear, yet they still convey the atmosphere of hatred and misanthropy that laces each song. Well done on the production!

Isidro Soto does a great job with the drum work on this record. His drum kit sounds awesome, he has an excellent handle on rhythm, time, what to play, and how to play it. Everything is well executed and everything packs a punch, from the simple rock beats to the blast beat madness. Keep up the great work, Isidro!

Scorn is a record truly deserving of its' title. The songs are well composed, the atmosphere is memorable, and the lyrics tie it all together. Not only that, but the album cover and the elements of noise help further cement a feeling of discontent and distaste for the very beings that we are. Primitive Man is definitely a band I will continue to watch in the future. They have great command of their instruments and they have a clear direction to pursue. If you are a fan of sludge, you need to pick up this record. In a small amount of time, Scorn has become a staple in my listening rotation, and I hope this record finds a good home in your library as well.

Only dissonance is real. - 90%

Inspector_Satan, February 20th, 2013

Having been a fan of frontman Ethan McCarthy's project Clinging to the Trees of a Forest Fire for a while now, my anticipation for this release was sky high especially after the release of "Visceral" in 2011, which saw them incorporating elements of funeral doom into their usual brand of frenzied "funeral grind." Over the 16 and some odd minutes of it's runtime the band seamlessly jumps from a crawl to a full on assault, tied together by their unique riffs and note choices. Scorn is a natural continuation of that sound, yet retaining the same unyielding commitment to anti-consonance.

The first thing that caught my attention about this release is just how massive everything sounds. Bass and guitars are downtuned and loud, and both possess a rich fuzzy distortion that really serves to emphasize the low end and really rounds out their sound. Drums are punchy and full bodied and sit perfectly in the mix. Ethan's vocals have always been one of the major standout factors to his work for me and he's honestly never sounded more at home here, his caustic shrieks cutting fiercely through the dense atonal sludge of the riffs driving home the intensity of the work.

As mentioned before, Scorn is heavy. REALLY FUCKING HEAVY. Much of the album is spent somewhere between a drunken stagger and a punishing crawl which works quite well for them. Tracks begin and end with noise as would befit any grind act. The dissonance of their riffing when given some proper breathing room tends to yield an unsettling effect, which is often bolstered by the inclusion of feedback or fret noise in the more sparse passages. That's not to say the album is all set at that pace, in songs like the title track and Antietam will explode out of nowhere into a brief but furious crusty charge, adding to the urgency of it the music settling back down. The most impressive part of it all and the thing that will likely add to its staying power are the way they can carve impossibly catchy riffs with a clever ear for unconventional melody. The song Rags fades out with a haunting arpeggiated chord progression laid down over a bed of feedback. The 9 minute epic Antietam's middle section's got a nasty grooving hook that gradually reduces in tempo as if it's falling apart before breaking completely down into noise. The sum of all it's parts work well together and keep the album interesting throughout.

This is an excellent first effort for the band and I look forward to whatever the future holds for them.