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Primitive Man - "Scorn" (CD)

Primitive Man - "Scorn" CD cover image

"Scorn" track listing:

1. Scorn (11:44)
2. Rags (4:37)
3. I Can't Forget (3:26)
4. Antietam (9:07)
5. Black Smoke (3:06)
6. Stretched Thin (2:55)
7. Astral Sleep (4:52)

Reviewed by on February 12, 2013

"No album so far this year has been as depressingly crushing as “Scorn,” and it’ll take something really empty and dank to match what Primitive Man has done on this album."

The guys from grindcore warriors Clinging to the Trees of a Forest Fire have started a new project, Primitive Man, a sludgy retreat into sonic dismay. Unlike the relentless onslaught of grind that comes from their other project, Primitive Man’s music is calculated and drenched in unsettling feedback. Their debut album, “Scorn,” is being released on 12’’ LP, and that doesn’t seem strong enough to hold back the toxicity of these 40 minutes. If you thought Clinging to the Trees of a Forest Fire was punishing enough, “Scorn” will change your perception very quickly.

While Clinging to the Trees of a Forest Fire would reign in their bitter retribution to a cushy minute, “Scorn” has songs stretched all the way into double digits. Feedback is one of the big components of the extended lengths, as the band contorts and messes with heavy feedback on several songs. Three minutes of feedback tacked onto the end of the title track gets a little churning sickness building in the pit of the listener’s stomach. That feeling is the one the band seems most comfortable with, always finding a way to reach lower into the depths of depravity.

“Scorn” is sludge/doom at its most primal. The feedback is one thing, but to hear the suffocating riffs rousing up a distorted mess garners an explicit emotional response in itself. This album starts out in a gloomy place, and it just gets more disturbing from there. There is no slowing down their caustic nature, and it can be a tough album to crawl through as a result. Vocalist/guitarist Ethan McCarthy brings his hoarse screams over from Clinging to the Trees of a Forest Fire, and they are buried in the mix to the point that they seem like fancy trimmings a la Krallice.

There is the occasional push towards more of a thrashy grind style, but the nods to their other primary band are not prevalent. “Antietam” is a dynamic take on the title track, shorter by a few minutes, but much more vicious by design thanks to an increased tempo. “Stretched Thin” is the token three-minute rager, rhythm-driven early on and transforming into a cauldron of aggression. It’s also the appropriate lead-in to the uncompromising “Astral Sleep,” which closes out “Scorn” as life-destroying as the album starts off as.

Whether intentional or not, “Scorn” has the most appeal as a whole piece of music. That gives some leeway to the use of two interludes, “I Can’t Forget” and “Black Smoke.” Without looking at “Scorn” that way, these tracks seem inconsequential. They enhance the mood, but aren’t really needed, as the other five songs do a fine enough job at it. Individually, the interludes are pointless, but mixed in with the other songs, they at the very worst disrupt the flow of the album.

There’s no light-hearted thoughts contained within “Scorn,” and that’s exactly how the band likes it. Usually known for their raucous grindcore, the three members of Clinging to the Trees of a Forest Fire switch to sludge metal with no awkwardness present. They do both exceedingly well, though “Scorn” has its faults with the interludes and vocals lost in the shuffle. No album so far this year has been as depressingly crushing as “Scorn,” and it’ll take something really empty and dank to match what Primitive Man has done on this album.

Highs: Brutal sludge metal from members of Clinging to the Trees of a Forest Fire, suffocating in its message and tone, unwavering music that gets more harrowing as the minutes wear on

Lows: Interludes go on for too long, vocals are buried in the mix

Bottom line: Ruthless sludge/doom from the members of Clinging to the Trees of a Forest Fire.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)