Bleak, merciless, cruel and monstrously fucking heavy are just a few ways of describing the sound of who I have the pleasure of reviewing today. It’s one of my most anticipated releases of the year and it’s from Denver, Colorado misanthropes Primitive Man, the record is titled Immersion and will be released August 14th via Relapse Records. The follow up to 2017’s horrifying yet brilliant Caustic, an eighty minute journey into the deepest recesses of the abyss that was incredibly well received and quite rightly, so it was exciting to see the group, originally pieced together as a one album project, producing their third full length, and seeing if it lived up to its lofty expectations.
From 00.01 seconds of the album starting with The Lifer, Primitive Man unleash complete sonic devastation upon me, combining all of the putridity of Dragged Into Sunlight, Lord Mantis, Indian and Coffinworm into their hideously crushing sludge crossed with death/doom sound. There is tons of feedback, riffs bigger than the Rocky mountains and hefty enough to bring them to nothing but rubble, abrasive bass lines and pounding drums that sound like the crashes of thunder in a storm of seismic proportion.
This is Primitive Man at their very best and vocalist Ethan Lee McCarthy accompanies the sonic disdain with his terrifying rage driven bellows so deep they don’t make a register low enough. What brings this all together is the absolute 10/10 job the production team has done. It’s massively dissonant yet not compromising on the quality of the sound, which is no surprise as it was handled by the fantastic Arthur Rizik who also produced the colossally heavy Xibalba release from this year.
Second track Entity has an opening salvo that is frankly petrifying. It kicks off with jarring swarm like guitar sound which really puts you on edge. This is sporadically met with the massively loud pound of the bass drum which keeps catching you of guard to build this huge tension. Eventually, Primitive Man annihilate that tension with a screeching guitar accompanied with Ethan’s earth shattering vocals. The riffs on this track sound like the earth’s tectonic plates colliding together and feel like you’re being repeatedly dragged high up into the air and then being slammed into the ground. It’s possibly my favourite track on the record.
Immersion is, in my humble opinion, their strongest release so far, and a must hear for 2020. A fitting misery for a miserable year…
Primitive Man do throw some variation with moments like a blasted section on the track Menacing and the instrumental track ∞ which is two minutes of noisy mayhem designed, I can only imagine, to unsettle you before returning to the sonic depravity your used to with monster track Foul.
One of the things I like most about Primitive Man is how much emotion that they can put out with an extreme sound. There is so much disdain, anguish and hatred on display, it completely draws you in to their terrifying world and a journey to the deepest and pitch black depths of the abyss. What was most interesting about Immersion was that it clocks in at thirty five minutes, which is under half of the run time of Caustic. I was initially worried that they wouldn’t be able to convey their barbarism with a significantly shorter record, but they killed it! It’s far more put-together and resolute than previous efforts.
Immersion and Primitive Man have been able to harness an excruciating torment that actually left me feeling calmer than when I went in, in a cathartic sense. This is a really strong release and after about thirty listens while reviewing this, it still hasn’t got boring. There is just something about it that has really stood out from the rest of the more extreme areas of death/doom of 2020.
Primitive Man once again show how they’re at the top of the game when it comes to disturbing and bleak music. I truly believe they have exceeded expectations and bested Caustic, meaning that Immersion is, in my humble opinion, their strongest release so far, and a must hear for 2020. A fitting misery for a miserable year.
Scribed by: Matt Alexander