US trio Primitive Man take no prisoners with their onslaught of skull-crushingly heavy blackened sludge-doom. The guitars are downtuned and drenched in feedback, whilst the drums are crude and sparse, often breaking into tribal-sounding patterns. The excellent vocals consist of fearsome guttural bellows that convey a demented mix of pain and rage. It’s primitive stuff alright, bringing to mind a post-apocalyptic landscape with its desolate, drawn-out tracks, pounding metallic ambience and riffs coated in thick layers of grime and filth.
The title track is plodding and lumbering for the most part, its initial surging momentum suddenly shifting up into a spasm of rabid grind before it falls back down into black-tinged doom-drone that slowly crawls to a torturous stop amdist a sea of noise. ‘Antietam’ follows a similar pattern, with a burst of flailing DM locking down into a heat-death of slow-chugging sludge and Esoteric-like hallucinogenic riffs spiraling out into the ether.
There’s a hint too perhaps of a more blackened and Neanderthal Neurosis, with a progressive quality at work throughout , on ‘Rags’ for example with its distorted noise-rock edge. It inhabits that same bleak, black-sludge wasteland that Eibon do. Said sludge riffs occasionally merge into DM territory as well, such as on ‘Stretched Thin’, which employs churning, vertigo-inducing riffs that wouldn’t sound out of place on an Immolation album. ‘Astral Sleep’ meanwhile lurches from creeping, pounding drone into mangled bursts of crusty D-beat and neck-snapping half-time chugging with all the grace and subtlety of an exploding oil tanker.
‘Scorn’ is a relentlessly bleak and brutal album, but it’s also layered and inventive, bringing its myriad influences together in a way that works effortlessly. Part drifting despair, part savage violence, it’s a rabid, bludgeoning beast that’s also powerfully atmospheric, bringing to mind feral humans fighting over scraps of meat amongst the wreckage of society. Simple but effective, like an iron bar to the cranium.
(9/10 Erich Zann)